During her time at Rantoul Township High, math teacher Samantha Schroeder has found a home teaching students of various abilities and learning styles in different ways.
"I get to make a difference in my students’ lives — not only teaching them math, but using naturally occurring conversations to teach them about life in general."
Here’s more from The News-Gazette’s 15th Teacher of the Week of the 2019-20 school year.
I became a teacher because ... I tutored in high school multiple periods a day. I found that I was really good at coming up with multiple ways to explain something, if the first time didn’t work. I loved that “spark,” that “aha” moment. The look in someone’s eyes when they finally get it, that’s why I became a teacher.
I describe my teaching style as ... dependent on the class. I change my teaching style based on individual class period needs and individual student needs. Sometimes I am directly teaching, sometimes I am wandering around guiding students, and sometimes I am just a manager, letting them do what they need to do, but helping when needed.
My favorite/most unique lesson that I teach is ... My most unique class is pre-calculus. It is a mixed honors/regular class where students earn the extra honors distinction. The class is self-paced and has very little direct instruction. Each student learns at their own pace, takes assessments at their own pace and retakes at their own pace. I am simply there to help them on their journey.
My most fulfilling moment on the job was ... either every time someone tells me I am their favorite teacher or maybe when a student tells me they used to hate math, but now they finally understand it!
Something else I’m passionate about is ... helping students in non-class ways. I have food in case students didn’t have any that day. I have feminine products for those emergencies that occur. I bring in scarves, hats and gloves. I like to help my students any way I can, not just with math.
My favorite teacher and subject to study in school was ... Mrs. Shafran at Niles West High School. She taught me geometry during freshman year; however, geometry was my least favorite math. I’m more of an algebra person.
If I weren’t a teacher, I would be ... in some sort of nonprofit that helps provide food and necessities to kids in the area.