Teacher of the Month February 2012: Octavia Sansing-Rhodes

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February’s Teacher of the Month honoree credits her effectiveness as a math teacher — in part — to her childhood memories.

Octavia Sansing-Rhodes: “I didn’t get it as a child.  It was confusing, complicated and I thought only the super smart students could get it, but now as an adult I get it.”

She not only gets it, but she is having tremendous success in helping her students get it. Octavia Sansing-Rhodes teaches math at Chicago’s Herzl Elementary School on the city’s west side.

Charlisha Harris, Student: “She came here last year. Our scores were low, low, low.  Now mostly everybody in our class meets or exceeds the standard in math.

Giovanni Fowler presented quite a challenge. The oldest student in his class, he failed math twice and was beginning to think a passing grade was out of the question.

Giovanni Fowler, Student: “She didn’t give up on me.”

Giving up her students never crosses her mind and with good reason.

Jasmine Harper, Student: “Mrs. Sansing-Rhodes is a very good teacher.

Charlisha Harris, student:  “She wants us to do better and to succeed in life, because it is hard to get jobs without a good education.”

Octavia Sansing-Rhodes “I became a teacher not because it was something I had to do in college. I did it because I wanted to make a difference. And I love it.”

Bev Gulley, Saint Xavier University: “On behalf of Saint Xavier University, I’m pleased to present this check for $1,000.”

Muriel Clair: “And on behalf of WGN, congratulations on being our February Teacher of the Month.”

Herzl School is one of those slated for Turnaround. All of the staff will be replaced later this year. Sansing-Rhodes says she will miss her students, and she hopes the replacement staff will continue that which is good while improving on that which isn’t. Meantime in the time that she has left she says she will use the check she received from Saint Xavier University on creative supplies to engage her math students in the learning process.




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