Tamara Davis sits in front of her sign that teaches students how to be a “math person.” Meira Bienstock

BETHEL — It was in the first stages of the pandemic that sixth grade math teacher Tamara Davis decided to get creative with teaching math, grappling with how to teach a difficult topic during difficult times. She reached out to Principal Kenney and said what if she taught a skills class?

“What if it’s just math and literacy and foundation building and identifying their gaps in doing just kind of like fun engaging, you know, just extra practice?” Davis says, posing the question she had asked.

“I see all sixth graders every two days, and so I get to come up with creating new material which I love to do,” says Davis, explaining the skills class. “I love to make it engaging for the kids. Make it real life applicable, if applicable, if I can.”

Davis reads books to her students. One of the books is about a boy who starts his own business and makes a lot of money. In addition, she’s teaching her students about stocks and profits. In fact, some of her own students have created their own stockpile accounts (through an account for students under 18) (with their parent’s permission), and they’re investing.

“So we’re learning some financial literacy skills with the novel that we’re reading,” says Davis. One sixth grade student has signed up for a stockpile account which Davis taught the students, and has already made a few cents that he is going to reinvest.

Some of Davis’ favorite parts about teaching are making real world connections, while staying authentic with the students.

“I really like for them to see value in themselves as learners no matter where they are,” Davis says. “Everyone has value and everyone has potential and everyone can do this. We just might have different starting points. But everyone can make progress.”

Davis enjoys teaching sixth grade.

“As students come in, you can give them a good foundation and develop good practices and habits and emphasize the importance of school. So that’s why I really like being a sixth grade teacher. It is a pivotal year. “

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