Teacher Spotlight: Nancy Foote
Nancy Foote Sossaman Middle School 7th & 8th Grade Math and Science
1. How long have you been teaching?
2. What inspired you to pursue a career in education?
I made a list of all of the jobs I have had — and I've done all kinds of things. I was a clown and delivered balloons. I worked for a law office and a CPA firm. I delivered newspapers, was a chemist, and tutored college physics. But in every job that I liked best, I was teaching someone something. So I decided to go back to school and get my master's degree in education.
3. What is your favorite thing about teaching or your biggest success story?
I taught in an alternative high school, where all the students were addicted to drugs and convicted felons. It was a high school, but most of my students had a math level that was below 5th grade. They were expected to pass the state grade-level high states math test. We worked hard. In the first year, 87% of them passed the test. I was really proud of them. The following year, they did even better.
4. What challenges do you face in the classroom?
I currently face the same issues that all teachers face. Apathy. Misbehavior. Lack of focus. And that's on my part. The students are even worse. They are impolite. They are afraid. They are trying to prove to their friends that they are cool and that they don't need my class — which, this year, is math intervention.
I spent the 1st quarter establishing trust in my classroom before I get into the math issues. Only when we have trust can we address their deep-seated math challenges. It takes a lot of patience, trial-and-error, and various tools to be successful.
5. How do Gallopade products or Gallopade Curriculum help you in the classroom?
I use several Gallopade resources in my classroom. One of the ways I get my students to hurry to my class is through my read-aloud. I use a variety of books of different lengths. But I especially enjoy using Gallopade's 1000 Readers books. I choose the book based on what I see happening in society or in class.
One of my favorites is the Neil DeGrasse Tyson 1000 Reader (#352). He's had a number of struggles to get where he is today. He's funny. I included this YouTube video where he talks with a child who has a learning disability.
Don't let the grade level limit you. It can all be adapted higher or lower based on your needs.
Do you know an educator who goes above and beyond the call of duty to inspire their students? Nominate them for Teacher of the Month!