Troy’s Price wins state math teaching award


For the Miami Valley Today

TROY — The Ohio Council of Teachers of Mathematics has named Troy City Schools math coach Linda Price one of three winners of its prestigious Myrtle Miller/Marijane Werner Award for 2021.

The award is presented for Exemplary Mathematics Teaching to up to three elementary teachers in the state of Ohio each year.

“I was surprised and humbled when I found out I won this award,” Price said. “There are so many phenomenal math educators across Ohio! To be recognized by a wonderful professional organization like OCTM as being among the best of them is truly an honor. It’s gratifying to be commended for doing quality work, but I know that I can only be effective at what I do when the teachers and administrators in our district trust me and are willing to work with me. So this is an award that is really shared by all of us.”

Price works with math teachers across the district to help them help students.

“I love being able to help teachers become more comfortable, confident and effective at teaching mathematics,” Price said. “It’s so much fun having conversations with teachers about math and good instruction, sharing ideas, challenging teachers to try new strategies, deepening their mathematical understanding and collaborating together to make math time a better experience for both teachers and students. The best thing a teacher ever said to me (and one I consider a great compliment) was, ‘I used to hate teaching math. Now it’s my favorite thing to teach.’ I also enjoy being able to go into classrooms and team teach a lesson with a teacher or model a strategy or mental math routine. Though I interact with the teachers much more than the students on a regular basis, it’s fun to be able to engage with students directly at times.”

Price said she feels blessed to be able to work with the teachers and administrators in the Troy City Schools.

“I appreciate the willingness of the teachers in this district to be open to new ideas and to be willing to step out of their comfort zone in order to do what’s best for kids,” she said. “I enjoy collaborating with teachers and administrators and value the honest dialogue and the thoughtful reflection that we engage in.

“Troy teachers are hard working, dedicated and committed to doing what’s best for their students. They sincerely care about their students and that concern sometimes weighs heavily on them. I have great respect for the teachers with whom I work and I have worked hard to earn their respect. I strive to do what I can to support them and to challenge them to become better – just as they have helped me become better.”

The way math is taught in schools has continued to change since Price was a student, and she said she’s enjoyed being a part of the evolution.

“I have always enjoyed math because there are many paths to the same answer. I love that the way we teach math now allows students to not only solve problems in a way that makes sense to them but also to engage in discussion with their peers, explaining their thinking and considering the thinking of others. When I was taught math, so much of it was procedures that I could complete to get an answer, but I didn’t understand why those procedures worked. Now, students are given opportunities to develop an understanding of the math concepts using concrete manipulatives before moving on to procedures and more abstract ways of representing the math. Students used to be discouraged from asking ‘Why?’ in math class. Now, teachers and students alike are asking, ‘Why did you do that?’ or ‘Why does that work?’ or ‘How do you know?’

“Mathematics is so much more than just solving pages of problems, and it’s exciting to me that math instruction today allows students to see the beauty of math, to develop a deeper understanding of the structures and patterns that exist in mathematics, to make sense of problems and understand what a reasonable answer is and to engage in conversations about their thinking. Math classrooms are now communities of students engaged in mathematical discussions and collaborative work. Students are finding that math can be fun, that challenge is good, and that mistakes are opportunities for learning. As one kindergartner told me, ‘Math is just playing with numbers!’”

The award is named after two leaders in the area of elementary mathematics. Myrtle Miller spent the majority of her teaching career at Prairie College Elementary in Canton. She dedicated much of her time and energy to the advancement of the teaching of mathematics to elementary students. Sister Marijane Werner served as mathematics specialist for the Kent State University College of Education. She was a pioneer in research on the impact of calculators on mathematics education and recognized as an authority on metric systems.

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