CCSC asks a lot of every member of the school community; our students work hard to meet the school’s high academic and behavioral expectations, and our teachers work very hard to ensure that every student has the support to meet those expectations. It takes a ton of commitment all around to succeed at CCSC. So it’s not surprising that math teacher Matt Pace reflects on the meaning of commitment in his “Why I Teach” essay.
Why I Teach: Matt Pace
To me, commitment is the core value that most represents me personally. Growing up, my father instilled in both my brothers and me the idea that you don’t quit until a job/game/activity/etc is through. This idea of staying committed to something until its done has stuck with me ever since, and I do my best to apply it to my teaching each and every day.
Working with students is a commitment. I am not done at the end of the day. I need to make sure that all of my students are prepared for the upcoming assessment, know the material that was covered for the day and that they are prepared to come back tomorrow to grow even more. If that means working with kids after school, revising lesson plans to fit better with what the class or even a student needs, that is what I will do. My teaching is something that I take seriously. Every year when I start, I know that the job isn’t done until all of my students have gone on to become successful high schoolers/college students/adults.
Math also involves a commitment. Problems are not just completed with an answer, it’s about the discovery, the process and the explanation. Mathematics education is understanding the patterns around us, applying rules to those patters, and understanding the rules that already exist and why. This learning, this commitment, takes us well beyond just an answer; it brings us an understanding that will stay with us for a lifetime.
Mr. Pace is a graduate of Ithaca College. He teaches Algebra I and Integrated Math C and advises 9th graders.