Sometimes a career choice can be determined by those who influence you close to home. For Ms. Clark, she credits her former RCS teachers with directing her in a career decision and how she found fulfillment in becoming a mathematics teacher. She directly attributes her path in teaching to Mr. Sugrue, Mrs. Sack and Ms. SantaBarbara for helping her find her teaching pathway.
After graduating from The College of Saint Rose in 2007, she taught part time for three years at Guilderland High School, until accepting a probationary position to teach 6th grade at RCS. Teaching 6th grade was a chance for her to show the district her passion for teaching and display her hands on approach to math. Additionally, she found herself helping students learn to advocate for themselves when they needed help, both academically and emotionally.
Teaching high school math is Ms. Clark’s ultimate passion. She strives to create lessons and activities that push students, and herself, to think outside of the conventional approach. She encourages students to learn and apply 21st century skills, while making the content obtainable for all ability levels. Through the use of stories, technology and love of content she tries to connect the material to student interests. Ms. Clark’s Students are encouraged to work together and ask for help because math should never make students hate it. She believes in creating a strong sense of community, which is important right from week 1.
Ms. Clark is constantly attending professional development workshops to improve her craft and is always willing to attempt new ideas. Ms. Clark constantly uses growth mindset approaches to remind students that making mistakes, and showing effort, are an important part of learning anything new. Even when you have been teaching material for 13 years you still make mistakes, but recognizing them and owning them are transferable life skills. This grading system has allowed Ms. Clark to maintain high standards for students to become college and career ready, while supporting all students to feel successful in her classroom.
Ms. Clark feels like she could not be successful without the help and support of other RCS teachers and staff. She feels grateful to have supportive friends and colleagues who are there to celebrate when you had a great day, listen when that lesson did not go as planned and provide ideas when something needs a new approach. It is the sense of community throughout RCS that helped her graduate in 2003, fall in love with teaching mathematics and want to come back to teach in the district.