Elizabeth Moore on anticipating and meeting the needs of diverse learners
Updated: Apr 14, 2022
Elizabeth Moore of Carolina Forest High School is her students' biggest cheerleader, and through anticipating and engaging with her students' learning needs, she makes sure they have everything they require to leave her classroom a better student.
Elizabeth Moore wasn't always going to be a math teacher. In fact, with a degree in meteorology, she expected her attention would be focused skyward. After graduating, however, she went on to work every job under the sun, and always looked back at the ‘good old days’ when she would spend her time doing math. So, deciding to follow her heart, she returned to school, obtained her MAT in teaching math, and now works at the same school where she did her teaching internship.
Now in her 12th year of teaching, Elizabeth said that she's learned a lot over the years and now better understands what her students need from her. "I can anticipate their needs much more easily, and when I attend teacher development programs, I identify what will work and what won't,” she said. Likewise, she praised her district for its constant innovation, which pushes her as an educator to keep learning and growing. For example, a program on vocabulary instruction in literacy Elizabeth just finished has made her look at math differently. It highlighted the importance of language comprehension in math, especially for multilingual students and she is now planning to integrate its lessons into her work as the coach for SAT and ACT prep.
Speaking about the day-to-day of being a math teacher, Elizabeth outlined that 50% of her job is teaching math, while the other half is cheerleading. "Empowerment is hugely important," said Elizabeth. She explained that some students suffer from math trauma because of previous learning experiences, so supporting them and changing their mindset is a big part of how she teaches. "It's all about building strong relationships with students, meeting them where they are, knowing they're going to come with deficits, and anticipating that, planning for it and strategizing on how to meet each individual need." As such, both blended learning and differentiating instruction are key features in her classroom.
Elizabeth also emphasized the importance of making mistakes in math, encouraging students to feel comfortable with that, and nurturing perseverance. She said this is a central life skill: "Ultimately, math is a tool to teach students the important stuff, so they become well-rounded individuals."
Photos courtesy of Elizabeth Moore