RUSMP Instructor, Kay Kubena, was honored as 2013 HISD Secondary Teacher of the Year. She was first nominated and honored by her peers as Teacher of the Year at Bellaire High School, and then chosen among 12,000 HISD teachers for the district award.
Her favorite course to teach is A.P. Statistics. Although she has been a teacher for 27 years, she has taught Statistics for only the past 5 years since she's been at Bellaire High School. At her former school, she taught A.P. Calculus, A.P. Computer Science, and Precalculus or Algebra 2. When she was first asked to teach A.P. Statistics, she was understandingly a bit hesitant. But she now embraces the course, and loves how she can incorporate creative hands-on activities within the curriculum.
Her favorite activity that has been successful in engaging students is a lesson on mean and standard deviation that focuses on the age-old question, "How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?" Watch. (youtube, vimeo)
Kay believes that teachers should strive to help students develop positive feelings towards a topic. The topic "might not be the most fun thing in the whole world…you might not be able to make the information itself all bells and whistles, but you can make the delivery of it pretty fun and interesting. You can also apply it in really fun and interesting ways too. And that's what is attractive to kids, and makes our job much more fun if we can do that too."
Kay's expertise with mathematical content is clearly evident. She graduated from Rice U. with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, no small feat. But her humility and kindness really shined through. When she was offered a position to teach at Bellaire, she was ready to teach any class because she was grateful to be at a school with such high standards and expectations.
Congratulations to you, Kay. We are so proud of you. You not only inspire your students to learn, but also inspire your colleagues to strive to become better teachers.