As each class ends, Teresa Carroll has her students form a line. She gives each child a hug, wishes them well and sends them on their way.
Carroll doesn’t get to see her students as often as she would like or for as long as she would like, but she makes the best of her circumstances by exuding energy in each facet of her teaching.
Carroll is a math interventionist at Williams Elementary, a Title I school in Georgetown. She has held her current position for seven years, and those years of experience have allowed her to master her craft. She helps poverty stricken students grasp the fundamental math concepts necessary to be successful in life.
Carroll receives the students who are struggling the most with math, and uses her 45-minute class three times a week to improve the students’ perceptions about math and about themselves.
“There’s a quote outside my door that I talk about every year with my kids, and it says something like, ‘Good mathematics is not about how many answers you know, but it’s about how you act when you don’t know,’” said Carroll.
Many of Carroll’s students already have started to give up on themselves when they first come to her classroom. Carroll describes their psyche as, “‘Oh I can’t do it, so why am I going to try?’”
To combat these negative feelings, Carroll brings the best out in her students by engaging them in fun, easy-to-use games and avoids doling out spreadsheets.
“I’ve had to teach them that it’s okay to fail and that failure is just a learning tool that we’re going to use to improve and get better,” Carroll said.
According to the Texas Tribune, 69 percent of students at Williams Elementary are considered economically disadvantaged.
Carroll recently received help with her classroom materials through a $500 classroom assistance grant from the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF). Carroll used the grant to purchase materials for a program called Do The Math. With the program’s kit, she received six student packets, a teaching packet, a multimedia CD and teaching literature.
Carroll has found the Do The Math fractions kit to be exceptionally worthwhile.
“I have seen them grow tremendously in their conceptual understanding of fractions,” Carroll said. “They gain a much deeper understanding of the concept that I am teaching them.”
Among the successes that Carroll has discovered, she has seen her students stop counting on their fingers and more quickly compute answers in their heads.
“It is extremely rewarding when the light bulb comes on and to see when they suddenly get it,” Carroll said.
Carroll feels that the classroom assistance grant was a boon to her teaching, and she feels a deep appreciation for TRTF’s charitable works.
“If you have the capability and the ability to donate to the Foundation, it is an amazing gift that you can give to somebody,” Carroll said. “It changes lives.”
TRTF delivered 15 $500 classroom assistance grants in 2015, and the organization hopes to match that amount next year, too. You can submit a donation online here or call 1.800.880.1650 to donate over the phone. Members of TRTA also received a donation card and envelope in their third quarter issue of La voz, which they can use to submit donations by mail.
Help celebrate TRTF’s Foundation Month by donating to one or more of its four charitable programs: “A Helping Hand,” Classroom Assistance Grants, Student Scholarships, and the Legacy Campaign.
Thank you for all that you do to support the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation and the many teachers, students and retirees whose lives are changed every day by your generosity! Since 2008, TRTF has given more than $200,000 to educators of the past, present and future. You can donate to TRTF here or visit www.trtf.org to learn more.