Holloway Honored as 2011 Mathematics Educator of the Year by VCTM
The Virginia Council of Teachers of Mathematics (VCTM) is proud to announce that Harry Holloway, a 6th – 8th grade math teacher and K – 8 math coordinator at Powhatan School in Boyce, VA, has been selected to receive the 2011 VCTM William C. Lowry Mathematics Educator of the Year Award for the middle school level. The award will be presented on March 11th at the VCTM Awards Dinner. This special dinner is part of the 2011 VCTM Math Conference, which is being held at the Ramada West Hotel in Richmond, VA. Congratulations to Harry Holloway for his outstanding work in the field of mathematics education.
Mr. Holloway took time out of his schedule to talk about teaching at Powhatan and his experience here. Read the entire interview below:
Powhatan School: Congratulations on the award, how does it make you feel to be honored as the 2011 VCTM Mathematics Educator of the Year?
Harry Holloway: Humble. There are many great teachers out there, and I have been fortunate to work with great kids in an environment that allows me to be flexible and develop new ideas.
PS: What is the most enjoyable aspect of teaching?
HH: I love working with kids and watching them grow. As a teacher we have to convey both skills and understanding, and both of these are taught at different levels. Sometimes skills come first, sometimes understanding, sometimes both. The challenge comes in understanding which is happening. It makes teaching exciting.
PS: How did you first become inspired to pursue teaching as a career?
HH: By accident. When I started taking Graduate classes at Oklahoma University, I got a job as a TA, and ended up being given my own class. My successes inspired me, while my failures motivated me.
PS: Why Powhatan? What makes this a great place to teach?
HH: At Powhatan I have great flexibility to try new things and find new ways to reach the students. Also, the stronger motivation of the students makes it easier to focus on the material.
PS: You conduct multiple programs for students during the year, tell us about them.
HH: Mathcounts is a competition for kids who really love math and enjoy competing. It gives challenging problems that don’t require a lot of extra math knowledge but require you to apply what we know in innovative ways. DI is a creative competition that I have only recently become involved in. Here the students have to do a great deal of work with the coach as a guide, since all ideas must come from the kids. It is exciting and time consuming.
PS: What classes are you currently teaching?
HH: I currently teach two 6th grade classes, each slightly different , a 7th grade pre-algebra class, an 8th grade geometry class and an Algebra II class.
HH: An understanding that you don’t have to love a subject to give it your best effort, and that Mathematics is a valuable tool that appears in many areas of the real world, and you need to be ready with an open mind.
PS: What’s the best advice you ever received about teaching?
HH: Several things- 1) “the goal is not to cover the material , but to un-cover it.” 2) just when you think you know something, you are wrong. 3) Everyone can have a level of success, but that does not mean it is easy 4) Teaching mathematics means connections, which means reading, writing and connecting it to other subjects. So you must keep learning as a teacher.
PS: What advice would you give to young teachers just getting into the field?
HH: Love kids first, failure is part of the job, but every failure is a chance to get better. Remember, you are partly a salesperson, so teach like you are paid on commission.
PS: What are the advantages of an independent education?
HH: 1) Your student body is more dedicated and responsible. 2) We can set higher standards,and have the flexibility to teach in different ways. 3) The students are our primary focus… more than the curriculum or state standards.
PS: You’re always walking around with the OU coffee mug, so how are they looking in football next year?
HH: They are likely to be pre-season top 3. All major starters are coming back , and although the new incoming class is smaller than most it has some stars where they really need them. I am very optimistic, but that comes with the profession.
Powhatan School has been educating students in the Northern Shenandoah Valley since 1948. Offering Kindergarten through 8th Grade, Powhatan serves families in Clarke County, Frederick County, Western Loudoun County, Warren County, Winchester City and parts of West Virginia.
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