826 Valencia is ecstatic to announce October’s Teacher of the Month, Ms. Adria Nelson! Ms. Nelson teaches Pre-Calculus and AP Calculus at Galileo Academy of Science and Technology. She has been mentioned in the senior yearbook various times, being voted “Most Understanding Teacher” and “Most Motherly,” demonstrating how much her students value her.
Ms. Nelson doesn’t keep her teachings limited to one hour in the classroom, nor to just the school week. She operates on an open door policy, allowing students to come in during lunch and afterschool to study to ask questions on the newest lessons, often times staying as late as 5:00 pm. When nearing the AP Exam, she spends her weekends at school helping the students prepare for the exam. The results are nothing short of spectacular! According to her colleague, “755 students have taken AP Calculus and 90% of these students have passed the AP exam.”
She also encourages students to work in collaboration: to teach each other and explore ideas into further detail. One colleague reflects, “I love walking in after school and seeing a bunch of students standing at the board with markers discussing how to approach difficult math problems.”
It is no secret that many students dislike math because it can be confusing and hard to understand at first glance. Various of her students have expressed starting her class feeling anxious and nervous for the material to come. However, through her patience, enthusiasm, and—as one student beautifully describes it— “ability to clearly breakdown concepts and relate them to previous ones without rushing it all,” Ms. Nelson transforms her students’ relationships with Math by building their confidence with the material and in themselves. She encourages students to come to her classroom whenever they have questions, going over a problem various times as needed until they understand it. She also constantly reassures them of their skills, encouraging students to further challenge themselves to continue building their confidence. A former student of Ms. Nelson’s says, “Through Ms. Nelson I’ve learned to identify the difference between ‘I’m so dumb’ versus ‘The error I made on this Calculus exam is a dumb mistake.’”
Ms. Nelson believes in the transformative power of education. To her the extra hours spent helping her students understand the foreign language that is Calculus is an investment into their self-empowerment and future. It is for this commitment, that 826 Valencia thanks you, Ms. Nelson!