Behind the Equations

Mathematics is a difficult subject for many students to understand, especially with its in depth lessons, such as algebra and trigonometry. However, some teachers choose to go beyond just understanding it, to actually teaching it. Robin Wetter, a geometry teacher at Lake Ridge, has learned to go above and beyond when it comes to teaching her students about her favorite subject.

College gave Wetter the opportunity to prepare herself for her future life, a life Wetter wanted to be devoted to math. Wetter did a number of activities during her college life, while majoring in a subject that would later shape her future career. Although she enjoyed college, transitioning from high school to university is something that requires adjustment. Wetter believes that it’s the way you study that affects your success. It is important to maintain consistent and healthy study habits that work best for you in order to avoid failure, a concept she also teaches to her students.

“I actually failed my first semester college, and I was an ‘A’ student so it kind of just blew my mind. I knew I had to change my study habits and I did graduate with almost a 4.0 GPA. I thought it was important that teachers help kids change their study skills in high school. None of my teachers did that for me,” said Wetter.

Motivation to keep going even when something is difficult, can lead you down a path that will later become significant in your life. Wetter was inspired to teach math from a past teacher she had. Her teacher made the subject easy to understand, leading her to doing what she enjoys now.

“Math didn’t come easy to me, and actually, when I was a junior, I had a math teacher who made math make sense. He didn’t talk above us, so I thought I wanted to be a teacher so that I could help kids because not many kids get math. I wanted to make it simple to show all kids that they could learn math. I wanted to make a difference for everybody,” said Wetter.

One of Wetter’s biggest beliefs is that long term memory is significant in anyone’s life. This ideology is especially important in the mathematics subject due to the many levels it has. Wetter explains that her teaching technique includes a physical and visual style, which helps her students with memorization.

“I do one, they do one. They get up at the board, we do competitions, we do a lot of chanting, singing, dancing. I do a combination of different things for every single chapter to help them get long-term memory and to keep them motivated and not get bored. Math builds on itself, so if you don’t have the algebra down, then doing geometry is harder. If you don’t understand the algebra, then you won’t do algebra 2 very well. Math just keeps building and building,” said Wetter.

The common learning styles are visual, auditory, and tactile. Wetter manages to implement all three of those, and more into her daily teaching life. Sophomore Kennedi Hogg says that the way Ms. Wetter teaches uses the five senses and this allows students to be more hands on with their learning.

“Her teaching style is about making you use all of the senses to memorize. She has even brought food into class to help us memorize and she makes you do spacial visualization. So basically, she teaches you by using your five senses to memorize all the theorems. When we don’t understand something, she makes us go up to the board and will walk us through the process of how to solve,” said Hogg.

In order to avoid failure, determination is a key factor for success. For students attending college now or in the future, Robin Wetter gives advice of perseverance.

“Stay with it. Don’t let failure stop you from continuing your education. Do the best that you can and aim for a 4.0 and get that degree. If you put in the effort, you can do it.”

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