Lauren Falck

Lauren Falck

Lauren Falck
Major/Job Title:
Mathematics Teaching

Lauren Falck

When did you decide to become a mathematics teaching major and what made you pick this major?

I have always wanted to be a teacher my entire life because my mom was a teacher. Teaching is a career where you can make a significant impact on a lot of people. The only thing I wasn’t for sure on was what I would be teaching. Ironically, I did not choose mathematics because it was my best subject in school. I was good at it, but I had to work hard to be good at it. I have found that, since mathematics has not always come easy to me, I have been able to make better connections with students and show them multiple perspectives for solving problems. I also think that students tend to have a dislike for math because they don’t understand it. I hope that, if I can help students understand the subject better, they will grow fonder of the subject.

What is the main reason you chose UNI over other colleges and universities?

I chose UNI because it is the perfect size; it is a small school with big school opportunities. Since I come from a small high school, I was concerned about constantly seeing the same people in all of my classes. However, I also didn’t want to have huge classes where I didn’t know a single person in my class or my professors didn’t know me. I am glad I chose UNI because I got to have a lot of different experiences since I had many different people in my classes, and I also had several familiar faces in my classes including my professors.

Is/are there any course(s) in our department that you feel have made a significant impact on your growth as a mathematician and/or teacher?

I really liked my Discrete and Argumentative Math class as well as my Euclidean Geometry class. These classes are proof-based classes where students are able to present their proofs to the whole class. The proof portion of the class taught me not to make any assumptions and to always have a reason behind everything. This has helped me show all of my students the reasoning behind everything and not just assume they will make the connections. The presentation portion of the class really helped me gain confidence talking about math in front of people. Talking about math in front of people is a lot more challenging than just giving a basic presentation in front of others.

In 2019 you were a participant in the UNI summer undergraduate research program. What project did you work on and what did you accomplish that summer? Who were your mentors?

In 2019 my project was “Factors Impacting Students’ Mathematical Performance & Belief.” I worked with fellow student Alexis Steinlage. We reviewed fraction, measurement, and Geometry tests from UNI math reasoning courses and compared their test scores to their preferences on math subjects/teachers. We found a relationship between a students’ performance on a particular math subject and their preference on that subject, a relationship between students’ preferences of teachers and preference of math subject, and qualities of least and most favorite teachers. Our mentors on this project were Elizabeth Hughes and Olof Steinthorsdottir.

I also participated in this program in 2020. My project that year was “Maximizing Participation in an Online Mathematics Course.” I was a teaching assistant in an online Graph Theory course through the Michigan Math and Science Scholars Program. I used this class to look for ways that students might participate more in a virtual mathematics setting. I looked into three different areas. The first result was that students who attended out of class social events participated more in class. The second result was that students participated more in groups when there were two female students present in the group. The final result was that students who tended to have lower participation participated more when they were in groups with people who have higher participation tendencies.

Speaking of the Michigan Math and Science Scholar program, what were your contributions to the program and what did you value most about that experience?

I was a teaching assistant for both the summer of 2020 and 2021. I helped with an online Graph Theory course. I helped group students up and assist them in those small groups. I really valued getting the chance to practice strategically grouping students so each student gets the most out of the learning. I have used the grouping skill I developed from this experience many times as a teacher.

Is there any particular moment during a field experience or during the semester of student teaching that you think was an important learning experience for you? 

I think it is difficult to pick just one moment that was an important learning experience. Overall, I was thankful to get to experience the battle of getting students to discover mathematics rather than be given the information to regurgitate on a test later. It is a battle that I have to face on a regular basis as a high school math teacher. 

What was your favorite extracurricular activity in college?  

My favorite activity in college was being a part of my residence hall activities board. I really enjoyed getting to plan and participate in fun free events with the people who lived in the same building as myself. My favorite extracurricular activity in college was the Campus Activities Board. I really enjoyed getting to go to unique events that I had never experienced before.

What is your favorite memory from UNI?

I really enjoyed participating in homecoming activities. It is always a blast watching the various Pride Cries that student organizations put together, running in the Amazing Race Traditions Challenge, and decorating a golf cart for the homecoming parade. My junior year I was on homecoming court for UNI, so I got to experience all the various different homecoming traditions I may have not experienced in the past. I even had the honor of being selected as homecoming queen. I remember standing on the stage and not even realizing that they said my name since I was not expecting it.

What kind of teacher do you aspire to be? What course(s) do you particularly enjoy teaching and why?

I aspire to be a teacher who inspires students. I want my students to feel safe and loved in my classroom. I want them to know that they can do anything as long as they put their minds to it. I really like teaching Geometry so far. It is a class that the majority of students have to take in order to graduate. Therefore, there are many different types of students in the classroom, both students who want to be and students who don’t want to be there. I really like helping students enjoy a class they at first didn’t want to go to. I also believe that Geometry is the most applicable math course. I love showing students exactly how they might use the skills in my class outside of school.

What are your professional goals during your first semester of teaching at North Fayette Valley High School? 

My number one professional goal for my first semester of teaching at NFVHS, is to avoid teacher burnout. It is very common for beginning teachers to feel overwhelmed by the amount of work and the high expectations for our profession. Therefore, I am working hard to take care of myself while still going above and beyond in my role as a high school math teacher. 

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

In my free time, I enjoy getting together with my friends from college, painting, going for walks, and watching Netflix.