Appalachian State University alumna Faith Miller teaches at South Caldwell High School in Hickory, N.C., and loves to hear her students say “I finally understand math!”
Miller graduated from Appalachian in May 2014 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics - Secondary Education. She recalls that all her favorite teachers were Appalachian graduates and said her time at Appalachian prepared her to be a successful teacher, too.
“Appalachian has a world-renowned education program because of the field experiences provided. I was able to be in a classroom during my freshman year, gaining skills I needed for teaching,” she said.
By the time she started her formal student teaching, both in Germany and the states through Appalachian’s international student teaching program, she said she felt completely ready. Miller taught for four weeks in Karlsruhe, Germany, preparing students for an English exam required for graduation.
Miller said she really enjoyed the Department of Mathematical Sciences faculty.
“From my first 8 a.m. Linear Algebra class, I knew that I had picked the right school. The faculty of the mathematics department truly takes the time to care for and nurture each student. Both in and out of class, I knew I could count on my professors to assist me and help me grow,” Miller said.
Miller said that the caliber of and mentoring within Appalachian’s program is untouchable.
“The mathematics department pushes you as a teacher and as a student. They want you to know the ‘why’ behind a problem as well as how to do the problem. Students never feel like a number. Instead students feel like they can find mentors and encouragement from everyone in the program. There is not another program in the state with such an exciting and challenging curriculum,” she said.
One of Miller’s favorite classes at Appalachian was Dr. Deborah Crocker’s senior seminar, she said.
“Instead of just giving us an assignment expected for a college student, she asked us to teach our classmates as if they were our students. I was able to teach a lesson to my peers then receive useful and applicable feedback. It was so incredible to have this knowledge before my student teaching experience,” Miller said.
Miller received the N.C. Teaching Fellows Scholarship to come to Appalachian, which gave her the opportunity to travel across North Carolina to meet school system superintendents and attend professional development activities. The N.C. General Assembly has since phased out the program.
Miller chose to become a high school math teacher to help students see that math is a useful, applicable tool to use in daily life. In addition to teaching mathematics classes, Miller works with staff to update the curriculum, coaches track and field, and advises the school’s Quiz Bowl team.
“There is not another program in the state with such an exciting and challenging curriculum.”
– Faith Miller, math teacher at South Caldwell High School