Wendler Middle School math teacher Ann Cherrier admits she wasn’t always a fan of math.

 

“I needed to see the pictures of mathematics,” said Cherrier. “I couldn’t just be told that, this is the rule you need to follow, do a couple of problems and understand it.”

 

KTVA 11’s Teacher of the Week won’t let history repeat itself in her classroom. She understands students connect with math in different ways and the one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t always work.

 

“When something comes easy to you, you take the easiest route. You know the shortcuts inherently,” she explained. “A lot of kids aren’t like that. They need things broken down. They need to play with it. They need to break apart numbers, put them back together.”

 

Cherrier helps her students break down math through fun and engaging lessons. She helps them learn the quadratic formula with a song and understand positive and negative numbers in terms they can easily relate to.

 

“Numbers with negative exponents are really, really, really small. They’re not negative. We call them sad,” she explains. “Numbers with positive exponents are happy, and they’re very, very large.”

 

Still, Cherrier says the secret to her success has nothing to do with math. It’s a matter of making personal connections with her students.

 

“They need to know, especially at this age, that you care about them, that doesn’t mean you can’t be tough on them. I’m tough on my kids, but I have high expectations for them. I want them to succeed as people first,” explained Cherrier. “In middle school, there’s a lot of emotion going on and learning their place in the world, and they need a safe place to learn.”

 

 

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