As important an indicator as test scores is the relationships Kyler builds with her students.
“That’s the very first thing you do,” the math teacher explains. “If you don’t have a relationship with the students, then you can’t teach.”
One time, Kyler learned that one of her student’s fathers had died. Kyler let that student know that he wasn’t alone.
“I told him that I, too, had lost my father when she was young,” she recalls. “It was a great connection.”
Those relationships persist even after Kyler students advance to the next grade. Often, students from her previous classes will find their way back to her classroom at lunch or after school to hang out with her.
“We still have that relationship,” she says. “If you can’t build a relationship, you’ll lose a child fast.”
Making Math Fun
For Kyler, being a great math teacher is also about proving how fun math can be.
“Math is not boring,” she insists.
Her approach includes: gamifying the subject, combining math with movement, and empowering her students not only to learn, but also to teach one another.
“I have to keep telling people: math is actually fun,” she laughs.
Inside the classroom, Kyler feels that she has found her calling — and a way to positively impact her community.
“Everyone always says that cliché, ‘It takes a village to save a child,’” she says. “But I honestly feel it takes that one person to make a difference in a child’s life.”