December Teacher of the Month: Ms. Culp


Caiden Lujin, Staff Writer

The December winner of teacher of the month is algebra II teacher Ms. Culp. Students were able to vote on ItsLearning throughout the month, and the winner was announced just before finals week. Teaching algebra II for the first time in 20 years, it came as a surprise to Ms. Culp to receive the award. 

“I just showed them where to vote and told them to follow their hearts,” Ms. Culp said. “It’s a surprise because of the fact that they actually voted for me. It makes me feel very loved.” 

Ms. Culp has been in the realm of algebra for her entire career, teaching algebra I and II – but she didn’t start out in the classroom.

“I always wanted to be a teacher ever since I was young, my mom said I was the bossy one and I always had to be the teacher,” Ms. Culp said. “She said we’ll pay for you to get your principal’s degree. I did it for about a semester and that’s when I realized I wanted to be in the classroom…I wanted to be in the classroom forming relationships and seeing progress.” 

Progression has been a focal point throughout Ms. Culp’s teaching career, as evident with the changes she endured in her classroom this year. Shifting from teaching algebra I to algebra II meant a newfound focus in her classes.

“I enjoyed the freshmen and the squirreliness, but it’s nice to have more focused students and I just love sitting around and listening to them as they talk amongst each other,” Ms. Culp said. “You get to hear funny things and every day is just a new day, and I love that.” 

Day in and day out, Ms. Culp has the goal in mind to relate to students and get the best out of them as a result. 

“If a student can relate to you and know that you care, they’re going to try harder. I think caring for your students and making those relationships is bottom-line the most important thing before any math,” Ms. Culp said.

Understanding that no kid is the same and realizing that things are bigger than math are large focuses for Ms. Culp’s teaching style.

“I think you have to just know your kids,” Ms. Culp said. “You have to judge them as to where they are, not against everyone else. A 100 for one kid might be easy, whereas for another kid, it’s moving mountains. I tell them not to focus on the number grade, just focus on learning and I’ll do the rest.”

Teaching can be a demanding gig at times, but to Ms. Culp, not all of the rewards can be seen at the surface – at least at first.