Teacher Spotlight: Kelsey Davis Adds it All Up
What’s the formula for a positive school experience? For Laurel Springs math teacher, Kelsey Davis, it’s flexibility plus feedback multiplied by encouragement. Kelsey teaches Algebra to Upper School students and describes the steps she took to solve one of life’s most complicated equations: finding a work/life balance.
It All Adds Up
A longtime lover of math, Kelsey was the one friend you wanted as a tutor. When it came time to choose a career, she not only looked for something she loved but something that would give her the flexibility to enjoy a sunny beach, ride her horse, embark on new adventures, and raise her family. “I learned the reward of loving what you do was far greater than any salary could offer.”
The Laurel Springs’ seed was planted during another tutoring session. “I had the pleasure of tutoring two wonderful girls who attended LSS because they played sports competitively...Their family encouraged me to apply, and the rest is history.” Well, more math than history, but you get the point.
Kelsey soon discovered that Laurel Springs could provide that coveted work/life balance. “I love the flexibility that online teaching offers for both student and teacher. I also love the learning-from-feedback model as well as the encouragement for students to learn to self advocate when they need help. This is something they don't necessarily learn quickly in the brick-and-mortar setting.” And she should know. As a teacher for almost a decade, Kelsey has experience there too. “I taught Algebra and Geometry Honors at a brick-and-mortar school to Middle School students and then completed my Master’s in School Counseling.” After taking some time off to raise her two daughters, Kelsey returned as a school counselor and currently acts as a graduation coach for the district.
Solving for X
One of the biggest challenges in online learning is keeping students engaged (X). How does Ms. Davis do it? “I maintain communication, discuss extra curriculars in addition to math, and give positive encouragement often. I try to have conversations with them through their feedback.” Connecting with students is another way she helps support their studies. “I am available outside my office hours via text and email which helps them be able to move forward…”
Another important connection Ms. Davis makes in her class is the one between math and the real world. How often do you hear, when are we ever going to use this again? According to Kelsey, “I think the connection between linear functions and the real world is the most important lesson in algebra regardless of the career path you choose.” When it comes to solving complicated problems she turns to another lesson. “I love teaching simplifying rational expressions. Fractions are so difficult for many, and when simplifying rational expressions, complicated problems are able to be cancelled out to a simple expression.”
Kelsey also stresses the importance of the parent/teacher connection. “I would encourage parents to make connections with their children's teachers. I would also encourage monitoring [their child] while encouraging independence and self advocacy.”
Thanks, Kelsey, for showing us it’s possible to find that work/life balance, and that Algebra is, in fact, important for future problem-solving. It’s helpful to see how it all fits into the equation.
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