Union High School Freshman Academy – Kelsey Fallis, Math
Math teacher Kelsey Fallis has been named 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year for the Union High School Freshman Academy. She has been with Union since 2015.
“As long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a teacher,” Fallis said. “While growing up, I was inspired by several teachers. One of those inspirational teachers was while I was in middle school.
She was one of those teachers who went above and beyond to build a trusting relationship with me. Every day, she met with me making sure that I understood my school assignments. Every day she also was encouraging me to do my best. She made me feel special.
While I was attending high school, I got pregnant with my son. As a soon to be parent, many teachers I encountered were very discouraging. These were the kind of teachers who gave up on students like me. As I fought to stay in school, I quickly learned that I needed support and guidance from educators. I came to realize that my son was going to depend on me and I needed to succeed for my son. As I navigated through my sophomore year of high school, I found teachers who would support me. They supported me because I would not allow my situation to be an excuse.
“Those teachers who invested in me, taught me a valuable lesson when I became an educator. Investing in your students and building a relationship with them creates a student willing to learn. The students will say they are fine and won’t admit they need help, but they do. When you invest in them, they become learners. I want all my students to become learners and feel like they are someone special. Invested teachers taught me how to succeed and I want to do the same for my students.”
Her favorite subject is math.
“Math is fascinating and math is life,” Fallis said. “Everything we do in the world is mathematical.
“Every August, students dread walking into my classroom. They have entered the classroom thinking that they are going to fail math because its hard. They have a defeated attitude for one reason or another and they think that they will fail at math. When you engage students, build relationships with them, you can show them that math is something they can learn and not fear. I love to change their mindset from the ‘I can’t’ to the ‘I can’ succeed at math.”
Fallis earned her bachelor’s in mathematical education degree from Northeastern State University. She obtained her teaching certificate in advanced mathematics.