Brianna Bentley grew up playing “school” in her grandmother’s classroom. Now, she’s earning a degree in Mathematics (BS) – Secondary Education at Appalachian State University to become a high school math teacher.
Bentley’s mother and grandmother were both teachers, so she saw a different side of school than most students as a child.
“I went to the elementary school my grandma taught at and was there before and after class. So much of my time growing up was spent in a school and I loved it. My grandma made sure I loved learning and I cannot thank her enough because without this passion to continue to learn, I would not be as equipped to become a teacher,” Bentley said.
Bentley credited Appalachian’s Department of Mathematical Sciences for its small class sizes and supportive faculty.
“Not a lot of people take higher level math classes, so this means smaller classes that allow you to build relationships with the professors and ask questions to get the help you need,” Bentley said.
Bentley said that relationships she’s made with other mathematics education majors have been very beneficial.
“You really get to know the people in your classes and can build these friendships, which makes studying for tests, answering homework problems and making it through the day easier. It is nice going to my 8 a.m. statistics class and seeing a room full of familiar faces. They also make class fun, which is always an added bonus,” she said.
Both Bentley’s mathematics and education courses have prepared her for student teaching by offering hands-on field experiences.
All teacher education candidates at Appalachian are involved in early field experiences at the beginning of their program. These focus on specific teaching and learning concepts and seek to support young learners in a variety of ways and in various contexts.
Bentley said that in addition to her field experiences, teaching yoga at Appalachian helped her develop confidence in public speaking.
“I am a group fitness instructor through University Recreation. Since I began teaching yoga, I have become comfortable in front of a room instructing and this skill is invaluable to me as a future teacher,” she said.