During this time, I was Lead Teacher in managing the Star Math and Accelerated Math Programs as well as serving as a Team Leader in which I conducted team meetings to enhance differentiated instruction, implemented positive intervention for student behavior, and promoted the success of all students.
For the past 5 years I have been a 7th grade Pre-Algebra/Algebra teacher at Humphrey Middle School in Bolingbrook, Illinois. In addition, I have organized and conducted well attended interactive parent workshops for math, and presented information to colleagues on professional trainings attended. Stimulating students’ thoughts, motivating students to succeed and keeping students excited about learning are my goals. I want to instill in all students that living is a lifetime of learning so always be willing to learn. The moment you stop learning, you rob yourself of the wisdom and richness you receive from other points of view and you prevent others from learning from you.
I recently adopted the saying ‘Verbalization brings internalization’. In teaching math concepts that students have difficulty grasping, students that talk out the process of solving the problem have a higher success rate than students who do not talk it out. I tell students to think of math like a song. People memorize songs by trying to sing along with the lyrics. To memorize the process to solving a math problem, talk (or sing) the process so you can imprint (internalize) it in your memory.
In my classroom, our work has meaning. Students are encouraged to take ownership in their work. By making connections with the world outside the classroom, students become engaged, recognizing their own significance and value. As owners of their work, students focus on results, regardless of who's watching believing they can make a difference in everything they do.
In my classroom, assessment is a part of the natural learning environment. Teacher and students constantly monitor progress as a part of their engagement in the learning process. Students learn to reflect upon their work while advancing toward their goals. Scores are used as a tool to monitor progress, not to rank or assign value to the individual.
In my classroom, there is constancy of purpose. Learning is a means to an end. Our purpose is to become caring, loving, responsible citizens of an ever-changing world, who are equipped with the necessary tools for success throughout life, whatever the future may bring.
“I have known Samantha Baker for seven years. Samantha Baker is the perfect example of a pristine teacher―an excellent role model for her students, professional colleagues, and communities at large. As a reflective practitioner, she is able to balance the rigors of the curriculum with the personal needs of her students through data-driven and standards-based instruction. She demonstrates her leadership in her ability to establish professional learning communities among her peers and her students. This past year, she directed the exploration of Kagan structures with the staff while modeling and teaching the necessary collaboration and communication skills with her students. She disciplines her students in a way that preserves their self respect and dignity while creating opportunities for all her students to achieve.” Limit your quotes to 3 - 5 paragraphs. Remember that the goal of a recruitment page is to generate enough interest for schools to respond. It's a communication starter.”
—Baochau Thomas, Director
“Students appear almost "spellbound" as they follow along with their teacher. Samantha Baker has high expectations of her class and achieves those expectations by individual and group work. She tutors students after school as necessary and always makes herself available to students during lunch and break time to assist.”
—Douglas Otjen, Principal
“Ms. Baker is a fantastic Algebra teacher! She is very helpful to me, like when I’m having trouble understanding the lesson, she takes time and slows it down for me to understand it more. Also, she has a very different teaching technique with different groups, such as ‘simultaneous roundtable’, were we explain our problem to our partner, and then we help them if they mess up. She also doesn’t rush everything like other teachers. So Ms. Baker is definitely one of my favorite teachers.”
—Jazontae Howard, 7th Grader, Humphrey Middle School