New Jersey Math Teacher Wins Awards for Helping Struggling Math Students

While all teachers are faced with students who struggle in their subject area, Granville Middle School math teacher Jill Esh has mastered the difficult feat of bringing such students around to love learning math. Esh has taught at this school for fourteen years and has been able to make math fun for students who previously dreaded the subject. She received two prestigious awards for her teaching prowess.

A parent nominated Esh for the 2015 Jody VanTine Outstanding Educator Award after the parent’s son overcame struggles in math thanks to Esh’s teaching skills. Now the child likes the subject and believes he is a capable math student—a noted difference from his previous attitude.

Esh feels like building relationships with students is the key to developing good learning. Knowing each student as a separate entity allows her to push them a little bit with support. She also feels like you have to be quirky and make learning fun to be a successful middle school teacher.

Her efforts are helped by some built-in opportunities at Granville Middle School such as a Monday Math Help session that meets after school each week and a half-hour study hall known as Ace Period that meets two days a week.

The Van Tine award is named after a dedicated teacher at the school who was known for her ability to relate to students and their challenges. Unfortunately, she died of cancer at age 29 in 1985.

In addition, Dow Chemical Company presented Tish with the Dow Excellence in Education Award given in partnership with the Licking County Educational Service Center. This award is granted to teachers from every Licking County school district who focuses on STEM subjects. Tish won $250 and an apple trophy.

Tish credits the school’s principal Lisa Ormond for trying new approaches. Ormond told the Newark Advocate that she has heard students say they used to hate math, but now they love it because of Esh’s teaching skills.