Tamaroa Grade School math teacher Eisenhauer flips the equation on students' negative outlook
Alicia Eisenhauer’s goal as math teacher at Tamaroa Grade School is to change the way students view the subject.
“I want them to enjoy math, not be afraid they can't do it,” Eisenhauer told SW Illinois News. “I want my students to know that it is okay to fail and that it is a huge part of the learning process and they can try again. I also want my students to realize that math is not only about the content being taught, but it's also about perseverance, problem-solving and so much more.”
Eisenhauer was hired at Tamaroa Grade School in District #5 for the 2014-2015 school year and is currently in her 5th year of teaching. She teaches fifth- through eighth-grade math, as well as fifth- through eighth-grade health and physical education.
“I love the people I work with and my students,”Eisenhauer said. “We are a smaller district so I am able to connect with students more than I would in a larger district. I live in my district and I am teaching in the same classroom that I learned math while I attended, so I know a lot of the families within our community more than just as their child's teacher.”
Eisenhauer, a Tamaroa resident, was born in DuQuoin and raised in the surrounding areas. She attended Elverado Grade School from kindergarten through fifth grade before moving to Tamaroa, where she completed middle school. She graduated from Pinckneyville High School and went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a concentration in middle-school mathematics from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.
“I think a part of me always knew I would be a teacher,” Eisenhauer said. “I loved my math teacher and he had a huge part in my choice. I have been very fortunate, all of my teachers were always so kind and caring. I wanted to be someone who was there for students no matter what.”
Prior to working to Tamaroa Grade School, Eisenhauer did a year of student teaching in a fifth grade classroom at Lewis Elementary in Carbondale's District #95, was a substitute teacher for two years in various school districts, was a long-term substitute at Woodlawn as a middle-school math teacher, and took part in a three year ISTEM grant specializing in Common Core Mathematics.
“Math is such a content-centered subject which can get boring, and students start to zone out,” Eisenhauer said. “To keep my students engaged, we do a lot of group work throughout the lessons. We also take a couple of days at the end of a topic to reinforce the skills taught.”
Eisenhauer finds it rewarding to be a teacher.
“It is a great feeling when previous students, who are now high school freshmen, come to me and say, ‘I already know everything they are teaching me,’” Eisenhauer said. “I think this is my biggest accomplishment, knowing that I have helped my students prepare for the transition to high school and that math is not something else to worry about.”
In addition to teaching, Eisenhauer serves as vice president of the PTO/Booster Club.
Eisenhauer loves spending time with her family, which includes her two middle-school children who are students in her classroom.
“I love watching my children in all they do,” she said. “They are both athletes so we stay pretty busy.”