Peeters reflects on teaching


The Mirror reporter

If you ask students what they enjoy about school, not many will say math but  Lori Peeters realized that she had a passion for mathematics before she ever thought about becoming a teacher.

Peeters grew up in Wausau, Wisconsin, and went to college to become an engineer. She later realized that she enjoyed math and was good at it, and transferred to the University of Wisconsin- Oshkosh to get a Bachelor in Science in applied mathematics. Once Peeters had her degree, she worked in the industry for years until she became a stay-at-home mom to her children. When her children were in elementary school, she would volunteer in their classrooms and saw a high demand for math teachers. As she already had a degree in math, she began her path to becoming a teacher for high school mathematics.

Peeters began teaching in 2010 at Auburndale High School in Auburndale, Wisconsin. She later got a job at Stevens Point Area High School (SPASH) where she has taught every math class except for calculus, statistics, and geometry concepts. That is 14 different math courses that Peeters has taught in less than 10 years.

When asked about the biggest challenge of teaching, Peeters’ response was “I think the challenge as a teacher is the distraction of cell phones and how it affects students’ focus.” She also said that even though technology has created struggles in getting her students to focus, she acknowledges the positive side of having new technology in the school. The new technology allows students to have laptops, teachers to have Smartboards, and hundreds of programs that students and teachers have access to. Students often do not acknowledge how lucky they are to have access to the vast number of resources and technology.  

If Peeters could add courses to the curriculum in the mathematics department, she would add Algebra 3. Algebra 3 would be similar to precalculus, which is the course that most students take after completing Algebra 2, but Algebra 3 would move at a slower pace and would not cover as many topics as precalculus. Not all students want to take such a fast-paced, rigorous course, but the only option besides precalculus is Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS).

When a student at SPASH was asked how they would feel if Algebra 3 was offered, they responded “For many students, Algebra 2 is very difficult and it is required for a majority of colleges. I feel that having another year of math like Algebra 3 would be in the best interest of many students.”

At SPASH the only calculus course offered is Calculus AB, Peeters would like to add Calculus BC because she believes that there are students who would be able to take that math course and who would be up for the challenge.

A practical, real-life math course is also something that Peeters would add to the curriculum. This would be a course where students could learn to balance checks and other real-life scenarios, similar to the personal finance course, but with a larger mathematics approach.

In her classroom, Peeters has a light-hearted, enjoyable environment where students know they can receive help with their math whenever they need it. She is always trying to find different ways to explain her teaching so that all her students can understand. On Schoology she always has a blank copy of the daily lesson notes, the homework assignment, and updates for when tests and quizzes will be so her students have the resources they need to succeed in her classes.