Educator Spotlight: Lakria Martin
Meet Lakria Martin
What grades do you teach, and/or your title/role?
I am currently a classroom teacher. I have the privilege of teaching both fourth and fifth grade mathematics.
What school, district or institution do you work for? Location?
I work for Baltimore County Public Schools, and my current home school is Bedford Elementary.
Who inspired you to become an educator?
I don’t think there is one specific person that inspired me to be an educator. I say that because I had amazing educators growing up. Each one instilled a love of learning in me in various ways. They taught me that my weaknesses can actually be my strengths.
What motivates you?
The first thing that motivates me are my nephews. All my nephews are under the age of six; one is starting first grade, while another is starting pre-kindergarten this year. I like to make sure they have learning toys and books.
The second thing that motivates me is every student that I get to interact with. Once you’re a student of mine, you’re a student for life.
What advice would you give to your first-year teacher self?
The advice I would give my first-year self is to not focus on the aspects of being a teacher; the decorating of the classroom, the pacing of curriculum, the tedious tasks that we have, but to truly focus on who the students seated in front of you are. If you do not establish a relationship with those students, then the curriculum, the decorating and the pacing guide mean nothing.
What do you wish more people knew about being an educator?
I wish more people knew that educators are always thinking about what is best for students. As educators, we don’t only think about their curriculum needs, but their emotional, physical and mental needs.
What do you love most about Bridges curriculum/math apps/MLC?
There are many things I love about Bridges: The Work Place games engage students and allow them to collaborate and talk with their peers without having to listen to me teach. Bridges demonstrates to students that there is more than one way to solve for an answer. The real-life context in which skills are taught and introduced shows students that math is used in everyday life, and Bridges does a great job at showing students that.
What do you love most about working with students?
I love when a student finally understands a concept that has been giving them trouble; their little light bulb goes off. Their confidence boosts 1000%, and they want to keep working and learning. I love learning about them as people, what interests them, who they want to become when they are adults and how I can help in their early life to reach those goals.
What’s your math story? In other words, how do you feel about math and why?
I tell my students that when I was younger, math was not my strongest subject area. It was an area I had to work extremely hard at to understand. Although I had great teachers growing up, connecting math to the real world didn’t happen; it was mostly memorization of facts and application. Now that I teach math, it is my favorite subject. I am able to explain how we can see math in everyday contexts and have discussions about the different methods and strategies to solve a problem, and why one strategy worked for one student but not another, but the discussions are rich and powerful.
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