A Class Act! 10 Questions for Robyn Hilton

Robyn Hilton

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

Name: Robyn Hilton

Family: Husband, Tyler Hilton

School: Denair High School

Subject taught: Mathematics, leadership, algebra 2, AP statistics, trigonometry and math 8

Experience and education: Bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Fresno State; teaching credential from CSU Stanislaus. Last year, taught middle school math at Whitmore Charter School in Ceres.

What most inspires you about teaching? My students inspire me. I enjoy seeing them everyday and I appreciate their questions and our daily discussions. It is so rewarding when my students understand a key concept and then are able to explain that concept to others. I am passionate about education and mathematics, and when I can witness my students making progress in the subject area I get really excited.

What are your biggest challenges as a teacher? One challenge I face as a high school mathematics teacher is the negative comments that my students make towards mathematics. On the first day of school, I told my students that there would be only positive comments in my classroom and I have to remind them of this every day. Most of them feel that they struggle with math, or that they don’t like it, or that it is too hard. I am constantly working toward improving their opinions on the subject matter. I want them to realize that math can be interesting and fun!

What is your favorite teaching tool or activity? I love incorporating games and activities into my lessons. My students are very competitive and enjoy when they have the opportunity to show off their skills. I try to turn the independent practice portion of my lessons into games so that the students are solving problems, but also having fun while doing it.

How has Common Core affected your classroom strategy? I am fully embracing Common Core in my classroom. It has really allowed me to dive deep into some of the key concepts of the subject. I am focusing more on real-world applications and making mathematics relevant to my students’ lives. I am trying to incorporate more projects and opportunities for group activities so that my students can connect what they learn in other subjects to mathematics.

What do you want your students to remember? I would like my students to remember that the classroom is a safe place for questions and discussions. I encourage my students to make mistakes because it leads to great discussions and learning opportunities. I don’t want them to feel embarrassed or ashamed when they make mistakes or are struggling. Perseverance is so important in a math classroom.

How can parents support what you do? Parents can support what I do by keeping an open mind about mathematics. It isn’t always about answers. We can explore, create, discuss and write in mathematics. Positive thoughts and attitudes would really help. Math isn’t always going to be easy, but it is important that my students and their families understand that with hard work and determination it is possible to succeed. I encourage my students to struggle with problems. I want to push them and get them to think and grapple with a concept. That is when the learning and understanding really takes place.

What will it take to improve academic success in DUSD? It will take hard work and communication to improve academic success in DUSD. Everyone in the district is working toward the same goal — educating our students. We need to communicate our goals, successes and failures to our colleagues, administrators, families and students. This will help to create a cohesive and successful district.

What’s next in your classroom? I am going to continue to work to make mathematics fun for my students. I want to connect mathematical concepts to their everyday lives. I want to perform experiments and explore concepts in a more hands-on way. It is a very important time for mathematics and I am so excited to see how it is going to continue to evolve in the next couple of years.

What would surprise people about your job? I think people would be surprised by how much I genuinely love math. My students say I am crazy every day because I am so enthusiastic about mathematics. It doesn’t have to be a boring subject. There are so many cool things that my students can discover and understand.

What do you do for fun? Outside of teaching mathematics and leadership at the high school, I also coach cheerleading and it is something that I love to do. I am passionate about our program and I love making up routines, teaching them to my squad and then watching them perform. It is a very rewarding experience.

Outside of DHS, I enjoy spending quality time with my friends and family. We love to go camping and travel. I am definitely someone that likes to get out and go do things. I enjoy being busy and am always looking for the next opportunity to try something new.

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