Meet Laurie Kane: Teacher, Coach, and Overall Math Superstar
Published January 8, 2020
Laurie Kane was recently named a 2019 ALEKS All-Star Educator Award winner
For most middle school teachers, lunch time is a needed break from their teenage students. But not for Laurie Kane, a dedicated eighth grade math teacher at Gulf Middle School in Cape Coral, FL. Even with a busy schedule as a teacher, head of the math department, and girls cross-country and soccer coach, Ms. Kane makes herself available at all times of the day to give extra help in math to students who need it. And students definitely take advantage of the time. “I get kids every day during my lunch period,” she says. “I tutor then, before class, and during my lesson planning hours. It’s important that I make myself available to them.”
Ms. Kane cites the use of McGraw-Hill ALEKS in her classroom each school year as a necessity in order for students to understand math concepts better. Her techniques have not only helped her students’ comprehension of the subject, but their test scores have significantly improved too. “Some of these students have failed the state tests each year,” she says. “I tell them about ALEKS and let them know that my previous students have performed well on exams the year before which helps to motivate them.” Ms. Kane considers the digital tool her best friend. “I wouldn’t have the great results that I have without it.
Read on for some highlights from an interview with Laurie Kane on her love for teaching and how using ALEKS helps her students succeed!
Tell us about the school you work for and your community?
I work at Gulf Middle School which is in my neighborhood. There’s a mix of students here and it was my very first teaching job and my only teaching job. I’ve been here for 25 years and I love it. I always tell others, “if you’re happy where you’re working, then why leave?”
What do you find is your biggest challenge as a teacher?
My biggest challenge is to try to get them to trust me as a teacher and to get them to know that I am here to help them learn and increase their math ability.
In your nomination, we read that your students refer to ALEKS as their “BFF.” Can you tell us more about that?
At the beginning of the year, to get them excited, we create an ALEKS character. I ask things like, “what do they look like?” or “is ALEKS a boy or a girl?” When we refer to ALEKS, we talk about it as if it is a real-life person – a tutor who helps them learn math. When we do this, I notice how motivated the students get to do their best.
What is one of the most gratifying parts of your job?
When I get emails from students who have passed their math state exams. It almost makes me cry because they work really hard and they get frustrated with ALEKS, but in the end they always admit that ALEKS has helped prepare them.
In this audio clip, hear Laurie talk about the challenges and joys of teaching, and how she uses ALEKS to help her students succeed.