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  • Writer's pictureMadaline Dunn

Theresa Delafosse: Building students' confidence and getting them excited about math

Updated: Mar 8, 2022

Theresa Delafosse of Keefer Crossing Middle School has incredible love for mathematics and passes this on to her students each day. Believing that students learn best when they're being creative, Theresa employs a plethora of activities to keep them stimulated and get them excited about math.

Theresa Delafosse started out in chemical engineering; however, after nearly sixteen years, she decided it was time to enter the field of education, a profession she had always wanted to pursue. After obtaining her teaching certification, she dove straight in and chose to teach eighth-grade math, the grade she believes students either learn to love math or not and where you can really make a difference as a teacher.

Theresa understands that learning is a continuous process and finds that she also learns a great deal from her students. As such, she enjoys students sharing their own techniques and methods related to math. "It's important to give them the freedom to explore what works for them. There's no one right way to get the right answer. It all just depends on how your mind works."

Reflecting on the last two years and the impact of Covid-19, Theresa said that there are more knowledge gaps than ever, so zoning in on reteaching is essential for bridging those gaps. Likewise, Theresa emphasizes the importance of celebrating small successes: "They need confidence after being away from the classroom for so long."

Hands-on learning plays a big role in Theresa's classroom, and when, for example, the class studies volume and surface area, she makes it physical and visual to really immerse the students in their learning. "Visuals are important - especially when dealing with abstract theories and concepts." Similarly, when teaching the Pythagorean theorem, she instructs the students to cut and paste squares and triangles to explain its basis visually. This is all part of making math fun and creating a learning environment where students feel engaged, and excited to learn more.

Always looking to improve as an educator, at the end of each year, Theresa reaches out to her students to learn where she can improve, and what part of her teaching students enjoyed the most. This allows her to stay current and in tune with her students’ learning needs.

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