Missouri Math Teacher’s Belief in Independent Learning Leads to Award

The 2016 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) recipients includes Deanna Wasman, a math teacher from Hickman High School in Columbia, Missouri. Wasman, has been a math teacher at the high school for 17 years and is currently teaching Advance Placement calculus and college algebra.

The PAEMST program was established by Congress in 1983 to recognize teachers who have gone above and beyond their duties in creating a high-quality instructional program that enhances student learning. More than 4,400 teachers have been bestowed with the award since the program’s inception.

Wasman will receive $10,000 from the National Science Foundation as part of the award as well as a trip to Washington D.C.

Wasman’s use of iPads in her advanced calculus classes gives her the opportunity to observe how her student’s work through problems and allows her to know when they need additional direction. “I don’t want to give them answers, I want them to make connections,” she said.

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Wasman said that she wants her students to be empowered to develop their own ideas and see each other as experts. Her goal is to develop a safe place where her students can be challenged. She focuses on independent learning. “I want them to be willing to try it on their own,” she added.

Alex Fratila, a 2015 Hickman High School graduate nominated Wasman for the award. Fratila called Wasman brilliant and said that her love of teaching math is easy to see. Fratila says that Wasman’s many different teaching methods helped students with many different learning styles.

Wasman and more than 200 other PAEMST winners were presented with a tour of the White House and three days of networking opportunities in early September. As for the $10,000, Wasman said she will probably use it to replace her vehicle which is 14-years-old.