The probability that Katlin LeClaire would end up in a career that had to do with mathematics was relatively high....

The probability that Katlin LeClaire would end up in a career that had to do with mathematics was relatively high.

After all, it runs in the family, with both of her parents involved in numbers in some respect.

“I have always loved math,” said LeClaire. “For me, it always clicked, and I was good at it.”

So, after earning a degree in mathematics, with a specialization in education, from South Dakota State University this past May, LeClaire began her career in numbers in the Redwood Area School District. The new RVHS math teacher is helping students as they try to understand everything from statistics to probability, as well as algebra.

The Tracy High School graduate said the plan when she began her post-secondary education was to become a teacher, because it provided her a chance to work with kids and to share her passion for math with them.

“I like being able to help kids find that ‘aha’ moment when what they are learning about makes sense,” said LeClaire. “Being in education is a way I can make a difference in their lives.”

LeClaire said she had done some tutoring in the past and enjoyed it enough to recognize the opportunity it afforded her.

In teaching she could help those she was working with grasp the concepts of math.

“It’s about helping them understand the process. I enjoy being able to do that,” she said.

Like other math educators, LeClaire recognizes the fact that not every student who walks into her classroom every day has the same level of interest in numbers she does. So, helping them find ways to apply it to their own lives becomes the challenge for her.

“Teaching math doesn’t always have to be heavy,” she said. “There are times when you can have fun with it, and I want to bring that to my classroom.”

She added that also means providing activities that help students apply what they are learning, so that they are not just sitting in their desks listening to lectures all of the time.

LeClaire said she opted to accept a role in the local school district for several reasons, including the fact that it is close to her family in Currie, adding she also wanted to be in a smaller school setting.

“Redwood is similar to the high school I attended,” she said, adding it is small but not too small which is what she was looking for as she begins her career as a teacher.

Having been certified in South Dakota, LeClaire said she is teaching in Minnesota on a temporary license until she completes the requirements in Minnesota.

That includes passing a series of tests, which LeClaire said she plans to accomplish soon.

In addition to teaching math, LeClaire is a co-advisor for the Na-tional Honor Society, and in the future this former cheerleader might get involved in that activity as well.

However, as a first-time teacher, LeClaire said she wanted to focus on the classroom in her initial year of education.

LeClaire said she wanted to teach older students, because she likes the content in higher-level math, adding it is more challenging. She also thinks as a teacher she is able to relate more to those students at the high school level.

When she is not teaching math, LeClaire said she enjoys attending local sporting events to cheer on the Cardinal teams – giving her a chance to see another side of the students she is teaching.

The first-generation educator said her first experience in teaching has been a very positive one, adding she has appreciated the local school and the support she has received in her new role.