Stacey Taylor – 2018 National Mathematics Teacher

Photo: Donald De La Haye Education, Youth and Information Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid (centre), shares in the joy of Specialist Mathematics Teacher at the Hatfield Primary and Junior High School in Manchester, Stacey Taylor (right), as he presents her with the National Mathematics Teacher of the Year Trophy for 2018. Looking on is Business Relationships and Sales Manager for the competition’s sponsor, JN Bank, Jacqueline Robotham.

Story Highlights

  • Educator, Stacey Taylor’s selection as the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information’s National Mathematics Teacher for 2018 is arguably testament of the impact of her unconventional but effective teaching methodology, as manifested in the positive outcomes recorded by her students.
  • A Specialist Mathematics Teacher at Hatfield Primary and Junior High School in Manchester for the past 14 years and an 18-year veteran of the classroom, Miss Taylor attributes her success to her avant-garde approach in delivering the subject.
  • “For me, I have my students discovering what I want them to learn. No longer am I just telling them, but they are discovering. I also take into consideration that every child learns differently. So at an early stage, I endeavour to find out how my children learn, so that I can cater for their differences,” she states.

Educator, Stacey Taylor’s selection as the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information’s National Mathematics Teacher for 2018 is arguably testament of the impact of her unconventional but effective teaching methodology, as manifested in the positive outcomes recorded by her students.

A Specialist Mathematics Teacher at Hatfield Primary and Junior High School in Manchester for the past 14 years and an 18-year veteran of the classroom, Miss Taylor attributes her success to her avant-garde approach in delivering the subject.

This, she notes, is grounded in the principle that the undertaking is moreso about the process of delivery rather than regarding the subject merely as a body of knowledge.

“For me, I have my students discovering what I want them to learn. No longer am I just telling them, but they are discovering. I also take into consideration that every child learns differently. So at an early stage, I endeavour to find out how my children learn, so that I can cater for their differences,” she states.

Miss Taylor points out that one of the main strategies she continues to employ is the ‘differentiated instructions’ methodology.

She explains that this entails catering to the learning styles of different students by using, among other things, ‘manipulatives’ – which are hands-on inputs that enable the youngsters to develop an understanding of a particular concept.

Given Miss Taylor’s background, experience and qualifications, her success should come as no surprise.

She is a graduate of The Mico University College, where she obtained a diploma in mathematics. She, thereafter, attained a degree in primary education from the Catholic College of Mandeville in Manchester, and is pursuing a master’s degree in teaching and learning at St. Mary’s University in Minnesota, USA.

Miss Taylor’s sojourn in the classroom includes a stint at St. Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS).

Her efforts and the resulting outcomes caught the attention of her peers, who unreservedly chose her as this year’s National Mathematics Teacher.

Miss Taylor’s prizes comprise an all-expense-paid trip to attend the six-day National Conference for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), now under way in Washington DC, USA; a one-year NCTM membership; and an Apple iPad. She believes the conference will provide the opportunity for her interaction with other mathematics teachers from across the world and to share best practices.

“I expect this to be an extremely rewarding experience, which will definitely help me to grow as a teacher and also to become the resource person for my school. The knowledge gained will enable me to coach other teachers in my school and, hopefully, (across) Jamaica or the region… one day,” Miss Taylor says. The National Mathematics Teacher of the Year Competition is open to teachers at the primary and secondary level.

The event, which is sponsored by Jamaica National Bank, is designed to: promote the meaningful learning of mathematics, and celebrate primary and secondary teachers who consistently apply best practices in the subject’s delivery.

As part of the competition, nominees are observed teaching on three occasions; interviewed; and are required to make a presentation, focusing on current strategies implemented by the Ministry to promote the teaching and learning of mathematics, analysing these, and to make recommendations where deemed necessary and appropriate.

During her presentation, Miss Taylor recommended to the adjudicators that the matriculation standards for prospective maths teachers pursuing tertiary training be raised. Further, that specialist teachers of the subject be deployed to all primary schools.

An elated Acting Vice Principal of the Hatfield Primary and Junior High School, Dorna Stultz, describes Miss Taylor as the consummate educator who is astute, dependable, reliable and willing.

“When she was announced the winner, we were just ‘screaming down the place’. We knew she was capable of doing it, because mathematics is her baby. She has put Hatfield in the limelight, and persons in the community are so happy that their community can be seen in a different light as of now,” Mrs. Stultz points out.

Meanwhile, Miss Taylor says her ultimate goal is to continue to ensure that her students grasp the concepts she imparts in teaching mathematics.

“As a teacher, in general, I think it is one of the most rewarding professions – not necessarily monetary reward – but the satisfaction you get when you help to mould the minds of children… . You get this extraordinary feeling of satisfaction that you are making a difference.

One of the greatest things for me is the fact that I think that I am making a difference in every child that I touch,” she states The National Mathematics Teacher of the Year competition forms part of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information’s thrust to shift the approach to the subject’s teaching and learning. Since its inception, the competition has been won by Richard Burton, teacher at Windward Road Primary School, Kingston – 2013; Yanique Hall-Harriot, Christiana Leased Primary School, Manchester – 2015; O’Neal McLeod, Godfrey Stewart High School, Westmoreland – 2016; and Neisha Grant Lawrence, of Crescent Primary, St. Catherine – 2017.

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