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Infinity Early College High School Teacher of the Year

Infinity Early College High School Teacher of the Year
Patricia Speck
  Patricia Speck
  Algebra 2, Dual Credit Statistics, College Algebra, Trigonometry
  20 years of experience
  North Carolina State University & Texas A&M Commerce
  Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree 
Why did you choose education as your career? 
There was a time when I said "I would never, ever, ever, be a teacher." However, after having children, I home-schooled them for several years and found that I really enjoyed teaching. When it became financially necessary for me  to return to work, I got an Alternative Certification through Region 12 and became THE high school science teacher in a small 1A school district in central Texas. Later, I taught a combination of math and science and then math only. Once in the classroom I was hooked...exhausted, but hooked and I knew I had found my vocation.
What is your key to success in the classroom? 
My students know I care about them and want them to succeed. I ask them to do quite a lot of work, but they usually respond in kind. I try very hard to teach them concepts in a language they understand and ease them into the appropriate academic terms, stop frequently to make sure they understand and give them the opportunity to ask questions. I constantly encourage my students to work together to solve problems and give them many opportunities to do so. Patience, kindness, and respect are always present in my classroom.
How do you engage students?
The first thing I show my students is a video that everyone can be successful at math and I truly believe it. I see math as a big puzzle to be solved and I LOVE puzzles. I hope my attitude is contagious. In my teaching, I incorporate many different strategies using both online and paper assignments, puzzles, projects, games and competitions. Math, like life, is a series of problems to be solved and challenges to be overcome and I try to teach my students to keep trying, to never give be resilient.
What do you love about teaching?
My favorite thing about teaching is watching students grow and mature over the 4 years of high school and beyond. I have always taught in a small school and so have students for many different classes over the course of their high school career. It gives me the opportunity to get to know them, to celebrate their successes and help them recover from their failures. I love finding out what students are doing as they leave me and go onto careers and families, especially getting those occasional notes or phone calls. Being a small part of these young lives, to me, is the most rewarding aspect of teaching.