Two Iowa teachers are in the nation’s capital today after being honored with the 2005 Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching. Linda Seeger teaches math at Okoboji High School in Milford. “You have to make it applicable,” Seeger says, saying she thinks it takes a high-energy teacher who brings a lot of high expectations to the classroom and tries to make it “as real-world as possible” every chance you get. She admits it’s a challenge to engage kids with a topic like math.
“It’s a bit of storytelling, it’s a bit of entertaining, it’s a lot of teaching style and trying to find activities,” she says. Seeger uses the Internet, graphing technology on handheld calculators, and anything she can think of to engage the learner so they leave the classroom every day taking something from it.
Seeger says it’s also important to have a positive atmosphere in the classroom, saying it makes learning easier and more fun for everyone. Teachers named for the Presidential Awards get a ten-thousand-dollar grant from the national Science Foundation and are spending this week in Washington at celebratory events and professional development activities.
Iowa’s other teacher honored this week is Danielle Spaete, a science teacher at Pleasant Valley High School in Riverdale.