Alison Gage: Making math pop off the page
Updated: Apr 14, 2022
Alison Gage engages her students through eye-catching visuals, motion and movement.
Alison Gage, an 8th-grade math teacher in Lockhart ISD, radiates warmth. It’s obvious from speaking to her that she brings a special lightness and enthusiasm to her classroom. “I have wanted to be a teacher my whole entire life,” Gage said. “When I got my teaching certification, my dad said ‘this is all you’ve ever wanted.’”
Gage’s journey to her classroom includes several chapters. She initially studied sign language at Austin Community College, hoping to become a sign language interpreter.
An internship at a local elementary school, however, reignited Gage’s passion for teaching. After eight years as a stay-at-home mom focused on her own children, she made her debut in the classroom. “I love deaf culture and deaf education,” Gage said. “But I wanted a classroom environment.”
According to Gage, her past experiences inform her current profession. “Being a mom had a huge impact on my classroom management,” she said. “It helps me understand what’s behind behaviors, what the kids might be going through.”
“I also teach them some sign language,” she said. “They love it.” Gage uses signs to do quick comprehension check-ins during lessons. “Movement and motion really help to jog their memory.”
But sign language isn’t the only unconventional format Gage incorporates into her teaching. A grant from the Education Foundation allowed her to purchase materials for a class favorite: Glow Math.
Using blacklights, Gage’s students can work through problems in bright, fluorescent colors. Because these days are highly memorable, Gage finds that they make great reference points to connect back to throughout the course. “The math just pops off the page,” Gage said.
Photos courtesy of Alison Gage