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Teacher Spotlights, TEam

Teacher Spotlight – Cheryl Holmes

I’m Stephen Perrault, and I’m excited to introduce you to one of the teachers I work with, Cheryl Holmes. Cheryl shows real strength in her use of time, especially the way she maximizes student processing during her Pre-Calculus and AP Calculus classes. Read below to learn more about the great things going on in Cheryl’s classroom.

What organization do you work for?

YES Prep North Forest

What grade-level and subject do you teach?

11th and 12th grade PreCalculus and AP Calculus AB

Where did you attend college and what was your major? List all that apply.

Smith College – Economics and Latin American Studies

What attracted you to teaching?

I love learning myself and want to help open doors for students by giving them the best education possible.

What is the best part of teaching? What is the most difficult part of teaching?

For me, the best part of teaching is having the opportunity to interact with my students both inside the classroom and outside of it. I really enjoy getting to know them and helping them on their path to academic success. I also love showing them how important math is to the world.

The most difficult part of teaching is grading papers. It is one of my least favorite things to do and just takes a long time!

Describe a successful teaching strategy that you use in the classroom. How does this impact your students’ achievement?

One of my most successful teaching strategies is facilitating discussions by throwing students’ questions back out to them. Instead of just answering their questions, I think it is so valuable to hear the ideas that other students have and allow them to get to the answer on their own. It is really neat when students get out of their desks and come to the board to explain their ideas in front of the entire class. They have all studied a lot of math by the time they get to my class, so it is empowering for them to be able to apply and display their knowledge in front of everyone. This freedom to explore ideas and alternative strategies to solve problems impacts their achievement by allowing them to have an exploratory attitude when approaching challenging problems on high-stakes assessments, such as the common assessment or the SAT. Instead of giving up because they have not done a similar problem, my students (for the most part) are empowered to attempt the problem because they have struggled and been successful with other problems in the past.

When you are not working on closing the achievement gap, what do you enjoy doing?

I enjoy playing with my dogs, reading, cooking Indian food, and spending time with my friends.

What three words would you use to describe the experience of participating in Teaching Excellence?

Restorative, challenging, helpful


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