Teaching Excellence Awards

 Year Awarded: 2012

Faculty Award winner

Gina Gresham

 College of Education

 School of Teaching, Learning, and Leadership

I have the honor and privilege to be a mathematics educator. My responsibilities are plentiful as I seek to inspire my students with a desire to learn. I find the establishment of a positive, caring learning environment, one that encourages students to "believe in yourself with dedication and pride" to be priceless. It is one that embraces one's self and the differences of others. It is where learning can and should be fun all while fostering critical thinking and facilitating the acquisition of life-long learning skills. It is valuing and recognizing student's strengths while helping improve upon their weaknesses through opportunities that will foster student's growth and independence.

My philosophy is related to instilling pre/in-service teachers the knowledge and confidence to teach mathematics effectively and in becoming better professionals. Knowing mathematics for teaching goes far beyond just the ability to solve problems, use manipulatives, or understand algorithms. It is making connections across and within mathematical topics and recognizing that mathematics anxiety does exist. Therefore, I use a variety of innovative, hands-on/ minds-on instructional techniques and methods to provide learning experiences that offer quality and authentic content and assessments with multiple perspectives of engagement and reflection to benefit all types of learners in the classroom. I encourage collaboration and actively involve students in the learning process. I create an educational culture that summons and empowers everyone involved to become lifelong learners through high expectations, demanding quality work, and having fun in the process.

My curriculum is replete with many activities that make mathematical learning exciting, interesting, and enjoyable. Students have applauded this facet of my curriculum. Students comment favorably about my approachability and availability and quick response to their emails and questions. They comment about my enthusiasm, energy, support, and compassion to teach. I am forever cognizant of the teacher's role in modeling what is being seen and taught. I work for student understanding and employment of explanations and rationales. I believe that it is important to be consciously aware of the theory behind what I teach and the way that I teach. I think that it is necessary to be aware of the complex interplay that exists between teaching, learning, and curricular theories in actual classroom practice. In essence, I think it is one of kindness and compassion, caring and respect, and love and friendship, the pillar upon which I base all of my teaching.