• Go Beavers!!!

Math teacher gives advice on how to succeed in class

02 February 2015

Knowing that math was her strong suit, Sarah Jackson looked into majoring in many different math fields, including engineering, before deciding that teaching was the best option for her.

“There are a lot of things I could have done with math and made more money but once I looked into them I realized I needed the interaction with people and teaching is the best way to get that in math,” she said.

Jackson is her in 11th year teaching math at Pratt Community College and teaches math courses ranging from beginning math to calculus III.

Growing up, Jackson was always the one that tutored everyone in math.

“Math has always made sense to me,” she said. “I think the reason I enjoy it is because I intuitively grasp it.”

Even though it comes easy to Jackson, she knows not everyone is that way and said the best thing for students who struggle is to go to class every day and write everything down. She said that will help students to be able to look back on the notes or to reference when they ask for help.

Along with going to class and taking notes, Jackson had one other important piece of advice for students to be successful in math.

“Work through it,” she said. “Don’t quit. Too many students don’t even try. They don’t get it once so never think they will.”

When students realize they can learn math, Jackson said, it is one of her happiest times teaching. She likes to watch them have that sense of accomplishment and ownership.

In class, Jackson’s teaching style is to get down to business.

“When class starts, I start lecturing,” she said. “I take questions and input along the way but I don’t tell jokes or stories. I set high expectations and stick with those.”

Students sometimes say that they will never use math again and while Jackson admits that some students may never use certain aspects again there are aspects of math that people use every day.

“It’s all about following directions and organizing thoughts and both of those are life skill that you will use every day in your future,” she said.

Before coming to PCC, Jackson taught at Coffeyville Community College for three years. She has her bachelor’s in math from Emporia State University and her master’s in math from Kansas State University.

Jackson is married to Mike, who is also a math teacher at the college and said in their free time they like to chase around their three girls who are ages 5, 8 and 11 and come to student activities.