We caught up with Lesha Burns. She’s a high school math teacher who loves her job and helping students. Today we talk to Lesha about her experience as a teacher and the type of support she needs from administration to increase academic success.
Here’s our conversation: Question: What grade level(s) do you teach and what subject(s)? Lesha: "I teach high school math, 9-12th grades. This year I will be teaching Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2."
Q: Did you always know you wanted to be a teacher? What inspired you to go down this career path? No, I remember wanting to be a psychologist in middle school, but that changed during my junior or senior year of high school. Thankfully, I have always had a passion for math and excelled in the subject. In AP Calculus, I was tasked with teaching a lesson to my entire class and it went really well. My teacher was impressed and encouraged me to pursue a career in education. I followed her footsteps by attending USC-Columbia, graduating with my bachelor's in mathematics in three years, and then getting my master's of teaching the following year. Q: How would you describe your teaching philosophy? My teaching philosophy is built on the fact that all students are capable of learning and achieving high levels of academic success when they receive proper support and differentiated instruction. Students are like flowers. If they are planted in the proper place and nurtured, they will grow. Every plant has different needs and that is the same for all students. There is no cookie cutter plan that works for every student and we must take a personalized learning approach to make sure every student has access to quality education. Q: How do you emphasize involving families in your students' education? The number one task at the beginning of the school year is to connect with families via phone, text, email, or in person visits at open house. During this interaction, I remind them that we are all on the same team with the same goal of academic success and I emphasize the importance of their participation in the learning process. I make sure the communication lines are always open and pre-COVID, parents were welcome to observe lessons and monitor student interactions whenever deemed necessary. When families feel heard and included, their engagement increases which ultimately increases academic success for students. Q: How do you support students’ social-emotional development? First by getting to know each student and trying to understand who they are holistically which allows me to more easily identify when students are struggling socially/emotionally and lend support. My support can range from offering a listening ear to referring the student to support staff when needed. I also educate students on the importance of self-care and offer coping strategies for when dealing with specific emotions. Last year, my school gave us amazing lessons on different ways to support our students and I plan to use them this school year. Q: What kind of support do you need from administrators to better support your students? The main support all teachers need from administration is trust. We need to know that admin trusts us to do our job effectively and professionally. I have been blessed to have such amazing admin throughout my career, but I have some friends who have not had the same experience. There are so many requirements that teachers must fulfill simply because we are not trusted. For example, during the pandemic, some teachers were required to teach on campus even while all students were remote. To me, this action screams micromanagement and distrust in teachers. Trusting teachers does not mean allowing them to ignore protocol and fail to meet expectations without redirection because teachers need constructive feedback to help them master their craft. But it does mean believing that teachers will meet and exceed expectations which ultimately allows teachers and students to flourish.
With Mobile Principal, students and teachers will receive the level of support they need. Mobile Principal provides data to develop a personalized learning approach for your students. The app also allows you to transfer teacher evaluation rubrics into the user friendly web-based system. Administration can observe and document performance from their mobile device. Sign up for a demo and our sales team will contact you.