Lake View High School
San Angelo Independent School District
San Angelo, TX, USA
Field: Algebra and Precalculus Education
As a mathematics teacher at Lake View High School, Saundra Paschal spends her career working with America’s youth to develop their skill with numbers. As a specialist in algebra and pre-calculus, she develops comprehensive lesson plans designed to prepare students for standardized testing and provide them with mathematical skills that see use on a daily basis outside of the classroom. Too often, students are disillusioned with the role that mathematics plays in the world around us. As a result, these students tend to gravitate away from studying the field when given the choice of electives. Ms. Paschal believes this has led to an overall lessening of mathematics skills among high school and college students compared to years past. “Part of the challenge of being an educator in modern times is working to correct this problem and get students back on track,” she says.
The most satisfying aspect of Ms. Paschal’s career is seeing that students truly understand the concepts that she puts forth. This is common to many teachers, who feel a deep sense of gratification at seeing their students succeed. What sets her apart is her great passion for her work, as well as her exemplary work ethic. Such is her commitment that she was able to fulfill her calling even during one of the most difficult periods of her life. Following the deaths of both her parents within a period of one year, Ms. Paschal was asked by one of her former students to teach a calculus class. Rising above her personal grief, Ms. Paschal was able to pull through for her students and teach the class, showing remarkable resilience in the face of tragedy.
When asked about what advice she would pass on to future educators, Ms. Paschal recommends the following: “Be patient with yourself, students and administration. Be flexible and accept constructive criticism.” Though it may be tedious at times to deal with red tape and regulations, Ms. Paschal believes that the struggle is worth it to see her students gain valuable skills and achieve success.
Conversation with Saundra Paschal
Worldwide Publishing: On what topic(s) do you consider yourself to be an expert?
Saundra Paschal: Algebra and precalculus.
What characteristics help to separate you from your competitors?
My passion for what I do, and my work ethic.
What motivates you?
When the light bulb comes on my students’ faces, showing they understand.
What short-term and long-term career goals are you currently pursuing?
I hope to continue learning new skills in mathematics, and eventually, I plan to retire.
What is the most difficult obstacle or challenge you have faced in pursuit of your goals?
The most difficult obstacle I faced was when both of my parents passed away within a year of each other. During this period, one of my first-time students asked me to teach calculus.
What is the most significant issue facing your profession today?
Generally speaking, I’ve noticed that students have less mathematical training.
Did you ever consider pursuing a different career path or another profession?
Originally, I was going to be secretary, since I loved clerical and organizing work. In college, I changed my focus to education.
What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of your profession?
Seeing my students succeed.
What is your favorite or least favorite work-related task to do and why?
My least favorite tasks involve administration. The paperwork and red tape can be tedious at times.
What advice can you offer fellow members or others aspiring to work in your industry?
Be patient with yourself, students and administration. Be flexible and accept constructive criticism.
Who have been your mentors or people who have greatly influenced you?
Frances Renfroe, Kenneth Hemphill and Laura Elms.
What changes have you observed in your industry/field since you started?
Technology, and that students are losing communication skills.