Creating a positive learning environment and understanding students’ individual needs
Chattahoochee School’s Christina Perry is an inspiring teacher who has a lasting impact on her students and their futures
For Christina Perry, a high school math teacher at Chattahoochee School, working as a teacher has been a calling since she was a child. As far back as high school, Christina has been actively involved in teaching, having created her own volunteer teaching program as a teenager. This program led her to fall in love with education, and she knew it was what she would go on to do. Five years into her career, Christina is as passionate as ever.
As a teacher who values personal growth and continual learning, Christina ensures that she brings everything into the classroom, and last year, she attended the ‘Gifted Endorsement Cohort,’ for this reason. This, she says, has helped her cater for gifted students and bring creative thinking into her lesson plans. By the end of the year, she plans to incorporate what she has learnt into one lesson plan per unit.
A challenge faced by many teachers is having to cater for different abilities within one classroom; however, Christina employs the teaching strategy of graduated difficulty to overcome this. This means that her students maintain confidence in math even if they work at a lower level than their peers. Pre-assessment quizzes are used by Christina, too, to gain insight into the level her students are working at and then deliver them the guidance they need on an individual level. She takes the same approach with math homework.
An example of this approach in action comes from the success of one of her former students. This student was struggling academically, but Christina could see her potential. Working one-on-one with this student meant that she passed math, and Christina is still in touch with this student today.
Understanding the importance of connecting and communicating with her students, Christina prides herself on creating a positive learning atmosphere. One of the ways she achieves this is through playing music between classes which sparks conversation. Equally, rewarding good performance and growth are central points of Christina’s teaching, too, and she’s found sending a positive note home can hugely impact students and parents alike.