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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Coleman

Madison McNeill: Leading with Positivity

While Madison McNeill of East Davidson High School’s mother was a teacher, she initially didn’t want to follow in those footsteps. After seeing the difficulties of being a teacher, she wasn’t keen on getting into education. As a sophomore in high school though, she realized teaching was where she was meant to be.

After four years as a teacher, Madison McNeill is really starting to hit her stride. In her classroom, she creates a welcoming environment where students aren’t afraid to make mistakes. “I try to build relationships with my students,” said Madison. Centering her teaching style on them allows her to see each student as an individual and meet their specific needs.

Leading her classroom with positivity is an important part of this strategy. “Even on my walls, I want to put up decorations that promote positivity,” explained Madison, “so my students feel it’s a safe place to learn and make mistakes.” This way, students of various ability levels get to give math a try without being discouraged, even if it doesn’t come naturally to them.

According to Madison, a good deal of the class’s success comes from her morning warm-ups, which start things out on the right foot. “I give them a warm-up at the beginning of each class that they turn in on Friday for participation points,” said Madison. The students can not only ease into the lessons of the day, but Madison can also see where her students are struggling and excelling. In conjunction with these warmups, Madison focuses on “wrapping around” her lessons, so her students see how what they are currently learning builds on what they learned before.

Madison credits professional development with instilling the importance of checking in with her students on both academic and personal levels. Going forward, she is looking forward to more professional development opportunities too. She doesn’t do this all alone though. Her department gives her incredible support.

Photos courtesy of Madison McNeill

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