For RVHS math teacher Andrea Spanovich, variables are part of her life and career, and for her using each of the variety of experiences she has gained in life can help to make her a better educator for the students who enter her classroom....
When it comes to math there are myriad variables one might use to solve a set of problems.
Knowing how to best use that variability can mean seeing success in mathematics.
For RVHS math teacher Andrea Spanovich, variables are part of her life and career, and for her using each of the variety of experiences she has gained in life can help to make her a better educator for the students who enter her classroom.
While some educators begin and end their teaching careers in one school district, Spanovich has had a much broader spectrum of experiences as a teacher.
“I have had seven different full-time teaching positions over the years,” she said, adding there were some part-time roles along the way, too. “In a way having this many different positions has been a blessing, because I’ve seen a lot of ways to do and not to do things along the way.”
Among those education positions for the Concordia College (now Concordia Un-iversity) graduate, who has a degree in elementary education with a Grades 7-12 math certification as well, are experiences teaching night school part-time and being part of an alternative learning program in the metro area where she taught a variety of subjects to different learners with unique learning styles.
Spanovich said she opted to become a teacher because it gave her the chance to help other students, adding in high school she was given the chance on occasion to help her teachers by working with fellow students to understand concepts being taught.
Spanovich said teachers are the kind of people who want to get back to school after they graduate.
“I enjoyed my time in school and saw myself coming back,” she said, adding those who have no desire to ever set foot in a school again after they graduate are not likely to get involved in education later in life.
Spanovich, who is teaching classes including an algebra introduction course, ge-ometry and Algebra II, said math was a subject she understood in school, and so when the time came it made sense to teach that to others.
Over her 20 years in education, Spanovich said she has seen a positive change in math education.
When she started the stereotype often played out in schools was girls were not good at math, and therefore you did not see a lot of female math teachers.
Now, she added, when she meets with other math educators across the region there are times when the female teachers outnumber the males.
In addition to teaching math at the high school, Spanovich has gotten involved in the lives of students as the coach for the dance team and as co-advisor for the junior class.
She said being able to work with the dance team has been fun, adding the chance to work with those kids outside of the classroom is a great way to be involved in their lives.
Spanovich admitted she is still learning about her role as the co-advisor for the junior class, but she knows work is going to start very soon to plan the big event put on by the junior class – prom.
Spanovich is a believer in those extra activities students are able to participate in during their time in high school, as many times those extra things are what they remember most from their school experience.
With her own kids in the local school district, Spanovich is aware of the possibility down the line she may teach them. In past teaching roles she has taught her own kids, and she said finding the balance between being too hard on them and convincing other students you are not favoring them can be a challenge.
She said with a smile one of the perks for the kids is having their mom available during the day when they need to have money.
The local school district is not new to Spanovich, either, as she was involved at Reede Gray a couple of years ago when the integration program provided cultural literacy education programming for those students. Spanovich was one of those teachers.
When she is not in school or correcting school work, Spano-vich enjoys spending time with family, which also includes her husband, Scott, who works for the railroad.
She is also a die-hard Vikings fan as one can see in her room.
Spanovich is enjoying her new role at RVHS and things have been going very well for her as she settles in to her newest role in the field of education.