Cydnee Baker loves teaching math – especially to sixth-graders.
Yes, you read that right.
That job might sound like a nightmare to some people, but to Cydnee, it’s a calling. She loves math, and she isn’t daunted by the challenges that come with the life of a teacher, no matter the subject or age of the students.
“People talk about the negatives of teaching – they hear horror stories and don’t want to be teachers,” Cydnee says. “I hear those horror stories, and I want to make a difference. Students need good teachers.”
The senior math education major from Arlington is student teaching this spring at Merkel Middle School, outside Abilene. There, she uses techniques such as replacing lyrics of famous songs with mathematical formulas to connect with her students and help them learn the material.
“I have a passion for math, and I know I can teach it,” she says. “I can’t wait to have my own classroom and my own set of students. Being responsible for their education can be scary, but I feel like I’m more than capable. I’ve received a great education at ACU.”
Cydnee’s education wouldn’t have been possible without financial help.
“Without scholarships, I wouldn’t be able to afford school,” Cydnee says.
“At one point, I was on the verge of having to transfer out because I couldn’t pay for school,” she says. “But God made a way: I received a scholarship increase. I’m so thankful to ACU’s donors and want them to know their money isn’t being wasted.”
Before student teaching in Merkel, Cydnee tutored fourth-graders at Abilene’s Taylor Elementary School. Three girls stand out in her memory from her time there.
“I was teaching them a lesson, and they just didn’t get it. I had to figure out a different way to teach them on the spot. I found myself pausing and regrouping, and I found a new way to explain the problem. They got it! That was a revelation to me. I told myself, ‘You can do this.’
“This is what God is calling me to do. This is where I’m supposed to be. I’m on the right path.”
Perhaps one day, a student of Cydnee’s will decide to become a teacher thanks to her and also make a difference in their community, one math class at a time.
“Whatever you do, it’s about making a difference,” she says. “If you enjoy what you do, and you put your best foot forward, then you’ll succeed.”