Wednesday, April 21, 2021

By: Claire Quigle

Emily Yeomans is determined to build positive relationships with her future students as a math teacher.

“I am passionate about teaching because of the educators who invested their care and respect into me,” Yeomans says.

She says she plans to pay it forward by relating to her future students with care and respect to help them reach their full potential in the classroom and beyond.

“I have seen and felt the impact that this makes in my life and students' lives,” Yeomans says. “These positive relationships give us the power to have a growth mindset and a desire to engage with mathematics, empowering us as learners and cultivating our full potential with and beyond our mathematics classroom community.”

Yeoman says her professors in the UI College of Education and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences inspired her to reach outside her comfort zone and take on new experiences such as student teaching in Texas and with her coursework such as her computer science minor.

Originally from Crystal Lake, Illinois, Yeomans is now a graduating senior from the University of Iowa College of Education. She will graduate in May with a Bachelor of Arts in math education, a Bachelor of Arts in math, and a minor in computer science after completing her student teaching at Davis Ninth Grade School in the Aldine Independent School District in Houston, Texas.

After the winter storm in Texas, Yeomans had the opportunity to take initiative and create a campus-wide survey to support students emotionally and gather data to support those who lost power or water.

“This devastating storm amplified the need for positive student-teacher relationships and family-teacher relationships,” Yeomans says. “Listening to students’ concerns, needs, and experiences has been vital. I have really enjoyed focusing on the importance of building positive relationships with students throughout my student teaching experience.”

Yeomans has also been selected as the student speaker for the College of Education’s Undergraduate Virtual Commencement and Teacher Education Program Recognition Ceremony on Thursday, May 13, at 4 p.m.

After graduation, Yeomans plans to become a teacher in Cincinnati, OH. She wants to build caring and respectful relationships with students, colleagues, and community members. This summer she will be working with under-resourced middle school students at Breakthrough Cincinnati.

Breakthrough Cincinnati is a rigorous four-year college-preparatory summer learning program for high-need and high-potential middle school students. Here, Yeomans will undergo professional development while mentoring diverse secondary students. She looks forward to supporting and challenging students as life-long learners by facilitating hobbies they enjoy as well as guiding students to engage in making sense of mathematics.

“I am excited to work with the students and staff of Breakthrough Cincinnati this summer,” Yeomans says. “This opportunity will allow me to get to know the community so that I can support partnerships between my students, their families, and our community to empower our students as mathematicians and as life-long learners.”

During her time at Iowa, Yeomans served as a resident assistant in the Be-WiSE (Women in Science and Engineering) Living Learning Community. Through this experience, she was able to advocate for women as they enter STEM classrooms and labs that are often, “rigid, inaccessible, and alienating.” Yeomans says.

At the UI College of Education, Yeomans gained experiences working with people from many different backgrounds. She says her courses prepared her by teaching her the importance of caring for and respecting students and colleagues, setting parameters and enforcing them, and implementing meaningful and motivating instruction to engage, develop, and empower all learners as life-long learners.

Yeomans was involved on campus through several other organizations such as being the head resident mentor for TRiO Upward Bound’s Summer Academic Program and a supplemental instruction leader. These positions allowed her to apply classroom learnings with students while studying at the UI.

“The interweaving of classroom and outside-of-the-classroom experiences equipped me to continue learning about new research while implementing my learnings,” Yeomans says. “This tandem learning and application of professional learning will be helpful as an educator so that I can continue to consistently learn the best strategies to effectively collaborate and learn with colleagues to best serve and empower students in their learning.”

Looking forward, Yeomans hopes to contribute to the teaching profession by equipping educators and students with ways to engage with mathematics in creative ways to see its connective depth through collaboration with all students. She also hopes to reshape how teaching professionals educate students in mathematics.

“I want to empower students as life-long learners to cultivate their full potential within and beyond the classroom,” Yeomans says. “Students are valuable. I want to make sure students have the opportunity to understand that they are valuable.”