December education and mathematics graduate Evan Price makes math relatable
Growing up, Evan Price was surrounded by educators. His mother, grandmother and aunt were all teachers. His grandfather and uncle were principals.
Price wasn’t sure if he wanted to follow in the family footsteps, but by his senior year at Seckman High School in Imperial, Missouri, he came around to the idea.
“I wasn’t really planning on being a teacher,” he said. “I was actually going to be an engineer, but in high school, I did a lot of tutoring for A+ Hours and to help out some of the math teachers with some of the students that were struggling. I found that I really enjoyed it.”
This month, Price graduated from the College of Education and the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Missouri–St. Louis with bachelor’s degrees in education and mathematics, respectively.
During his time at UMSL, he strived to make math more relatable as a tutor at the Math Center and as a student teacher at his alma mater, Seckman High School. In January, he will start his first full-time job, teaching middle school math at St. Simon the Apostle School in South County.
Price is excited to graduate and begin his career.
“It feels really good, and I feel like I’ve really accomplished something,” he said. “I’m quite proud of what I’ve done.”
From a young age, math’s intrinsic problem-solving interested Price. He found it very satisfying to piece together a puzzle and gradually started seeking out more challenging problems in his free time. The math teachers at Seckman encouraged him to continue exploring his interest in the field and conducting his own research.
Between their support and his work as a tutor, Price realized he could share his enthusiasm for math, particularly algebra and calculus, as an educator.
Price considered several undergraduate programs, but UMSL stood out among them. The university’s affordability and proximity to his family were attractive, and he was impressed by the knowledgeable faculty. It didn’t hurt that his father graduated from UMSL either.
“I toured the campus and really enjoyed it,” Price said. “I spoke with some of the professors at the math department before I applied, and I really thought that was the place for me.”
At UMSL, Price enjoyed the small class sizes, which made it easy to develop meaningful relationships with his professors and classmates. He also got involved on campus, tutoring peers at the Math Center.
While tutoring and math courses kept Price’s computation skills sharp, the College of Education began molding him as a teacher. The program provided plenty of hands-on experience in the classroom through observations and field work – much more than other universities Price considered attending.
He appreciated the emphasis on real-world experience because it helps students determine if they really want to pursue a career in education. For him, things clicked immediately.
“The first time I stood up and taught a lesson, I realized this is truly what I want to do,” Price said. “I enjoy being with the students and helping them, seeing how happy they are when they get the problem right and seeing some of them rediscover that maybe they do like math, even if they would have hated it in the past.”
Some students find math frustrating for a variety of reasons, but Price works to make the subject less intimidating. He said the first step is to build relationships with every student in the classroom and show that he cares about their education. From there, it’s possible to find a way to make the curriculum more relatable.
He recalled one student in particular who had been struggling before connecting the concepts in class to a hobby.
“With me forming a relationship with him this semester, I found out he really likes cars,” Price explained. “Whenever he’d come for help, I would try to relate whatever we were talking about to something about cars. Somehow that made it click, and now he’s working better than I’ve ever seen him work before. He’s doing well, and he seems like he enjoys coming to class.”
Price is making sure his students have the tools to succeed, literally and figuratively.
Last semester, he noticed the Algebra 1 teacher at Seckman had a mismatched set of classroom calculators. She informed him that teachers had to pay for their own, and when one went missing, it was difficult to find an exact replacement if it was replaced at all.
“Classroom sets of calculators are pretty important so that students who can’t afford the calculators don’t need to worry about that,” Price said.
It prompted him to act. He applied for several grants and solicited donations from local businesses. Overall, he raised about $700, which was enough to purchase two full classroom calculator sets and 10 extras.
Now Price is preparing for his new post at St. Simon the Apostle School, where he expects to teach for the spring semester. After that, he’s hoping to move into a public school district and eventually pursue a master’s degree in educational administration or applied mathematics. He seems to be leaning toward the former.
“The truth of the matter is, I really do enjoy being in the classroom with the students, and I think I’d miss that a lot,” he said. “But, at the same time, I think it’d be pretty nice to be the principal. I understand that it’s pretty difficult to deal with students, and you have to make the right choices with parents and everything like that. But I think it’d be cool to maybe make a difference as a principal and be that principal that the students can come to if they have a problem. That’s really what I want to do.”
Short URL: https://blogs.umsl.edu/news/?p=91826