Ashley Teela: Understanding students' differences and fostering growth
Ashley Teela, an educator at Blackland Prairie Elementary, has always had a love for learning. Now, in her 11th year as an educator, she brings the joy of math to her students each day and celebrates their growth as they learn.
Teacher Ashley Teela has always found school to be a welcoming environment, and her passion for learning stems back to childhood. Knowing that education would be a lifelong pursuit, she attended college with her sights set on art education. However, when her course required her to obtain hours in the classroom, she volunteered in a second-grade classroom, fell in love with it and changed her major to general education.
Ashley continues to invest in her development as a teacher, too, and two years ago, obtained her Master’s in Educational Leadership and Policies and her Principal Certification. She hopes this means that she will have the opportunity to influence more teachers and impact more students, helping them to grow. This is a central focus of Ashley’s teaching style, and she’s always looking for new strategies to implement in the classroom to make education meaningful and valuable for students.
In the classroom, Ashley uses many different technology platforms and adaptive software programs so that her students can work at their own pace, build on their knowledge gaps, and supplement their classwork. Making math fun and engaging is crucially important, Ashley says, and one way she does this is by using worksheets as mystery puzzles, where students get a clue after they finish so that they can figure out the case. Ashley says that sometimes when it comes to math and different formulas, it’s all about practice, and these methods motivate students to keep going.
Ashley believes peer-learning and dividing the class into small groups can be hugely effective, too, because every student works at a different level and pace. Small groups allow her to either assist those who are struggling or assign enrichment activities to those working at a faster pace. Ashley also always encourages curiosity and questions.
For Ashley, her favourite part about teaching is seeing students grow and find their enthusiasm and passion for math.