Profile: Math teacher Marler helps to turn negatives to positives

by Jeanna Brown/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Mrs. Michelle Marler dresses to support her school. She loves using the white board to encourage student learning as well. Photo by Jeanna Brown

“Life is a math equation. In order to gain the most, you have to know how to convert negatives into positives.” – Anonymous.

Mrs. Michelle Marler, GC math teacher has a way of turning the negatives into positives, in the case, a positive attitude. Nathan Schrieber, a GC graduate, said that Mrs. Marler was his favorite teacher in high school. “She would always help me when I needed help and provided a safe and comforting environment. She never got mad, or acted frustrated when asking for help. She always made little jokes to help motivate me. Even if I wasn’t understanding something, she would always help me until I understood it. She was the nicest teacher I had.”

  Mrs. Marler has been teaching for many years. Mrs. Marler ensures her students get the best learning experience, by helping them relate everyday life things to math. 

Marler decided she would like to be a math teacher her senior year of high school. She originally applied to colleges to be a physical therapist, but she decided since she enjoyed helping her classmates with AP Calc, that she would pursue math education instead. 

Mrs. Marler stated that her mom inspired her to become a math teacher. “My mother was an elementary teacher, and while I had no desire to teach at the elementary level, I saw how much she loved teaching.” Mrs. Marler also stated that her students were the ones who inspire her to continue teaching every day. “They are the ones who make this job interesting and rewarding. I love getting to know who they are and hopefully help them learn and grow.” 

Mr. Todd Degler, also in the math department with Marler, has been teaching with Mrs. Marler for 10 years. They even went to the same college. Even though they didn’t know each other in college, they graduated a semester apart in the Math Education department. Mr. Degler described Mrs. Marler as reliable, steady, and a confident professional. “She is willing to stop what she is doing to help anyone who needs it,” Degler said.  Degler also stated that he would feel comfortable letting Mrs. Marler teach his own children.

Mrs. Marler always tries to get her point across in many different ways.“Mrs. Marler gets to the point quickly, while explaining needed information,” stated Mr. Degler. “She uses visuals and examples to demonstrate the process of math concepts. She is also very good at checking for understanding throughout her lesson by giving problems for students to explain orally, on paper, or to demonstrate.” 

As like every teacher, Mrs. Marler is not perfect. She has flaws like everyone else, but her flaws don’t really seem like flaws. They are more like high expectations.  “I feel one thing Mrs. Marler could improve on is saying no. She often will agree to an extra workload to help others or give up her prep period to work with students,” stated Mr. Degler. “I feel one thing Mrs. Marler could work on is not giving out as much homework. I used to have  homework in her class every night,” stated Schrieber. 

When you first begin teaching, things can be difficult. You have to learn how the school functions, Marler said. “Things are much more relaxed now versus when I first started teaching. Education is much more personalized and not as black and white as it used to be,” Marler said. “Students have many more choices and resources available to them. When I first started teaching, I would have students begging me to accept late homework. Now I’m the one begging them to turn in late work. Technology has also changed a lot in education, both for better and worse. While technology has increased opportunities for communication and online resources, it has also created serious barriers to classroom engagement.”

Teaching can be difficult with a normal school year, let alone in the middle of a pandemic. “Teaching those who are out with COVID or who were contact-traced is tough. You have students in class with you, but a group of students who may or may not be watching you on a google meet. COVID has made it tough to do what I have planned because I like to do group activities and hands-on things.” 

Mrs. Marler has made a positive reputation for herself. “Overall, I would recommend Mrs. Marler to anyone,” stated Mr. Degler. 

“Mrs. Marler is the best teacher I have ever had, and I would recommend her to anyone because she is willing to help others, before she helps herself,” stated Schrieber. 

Mrs. Marler summed it up, “I love my job and being able to help kids in any way I can.”