Meet Ms. Stevens, Payton’s New Math Teacher

By Iyanna Tuyay, Contributor

Ms. Stevens teaches Geometry and Pre-Calculus at Payton.

The Paw Print: Why did you decide to become a teacher?

Ms. Stevens: It’s kind of twofold. First, because of my kid; I wanted a career where I can still be an active parent. Then, I wanted a career I could do for the rest of my life. It’s a calling and not a job. And so I used to do training at my old company, and I enjoyed my training days… So then, I went to get my degree in mathematics at Roosevelt (University) and became a teacher, and it’s been so much fun after.

The Paw Print: How long have you been teaching?

Ms. Stevens: 13 years

The Paw Print: And where have you taught before Payton?

Ms. Stevens: I was at South Loop, Skinner West, (so I have some Payton kids here), and Bouchet [Academy]. I did one year of high school, and then I got sucked into the elementary realm of teaching [middle school students] high school math. So that when they go to Payton, they can go to geometry or pre-calc… that’s what I’m teaching now.

The Paw Print: Why Payton?

Ms. Stevens: Well, Payton is such a special place. When you work in CPS, you’re like, ‘wow’, Payton seems like it’s gonna be something so fun and there are amazingly bright students. You saw me, I have so much fun… being here makes teaching a lot more fun for me.

The Paw Print: Why did you decide to teach math and not any other subject?

Ms. Stevens: Because math is the best subject in the world. That’s it, that’s it. Best subject in the world. It’s not ambiguous, it’s direct. It’s not gray like history and English. There’s only one definite answer… that’s why I love math.

The Paw Print: What’s your favorite thing about learning and teaching math?

Ms. Stevens: Oh, getting that “Aha!” moment when the kids get excited. And when they realize they get it, and then, the light bulb goes off. That’s so exciting.

The Paw Print: What has been your experience at Payton so far?

Ms. Stevens: Oh, it’s been awesome. I really like it, even though it’s very draining– my geometry days (because it’s three classes) are my favorite days. Geometry is the best.

The Paw Print: What impact do you hope to have at Payton?

Ms. Stevens: I hope to make a real change, not just with academics, but mentally as well. And because you guys are so serious. If I could just get them to break down a little bit. You guys are breaking down slowly but surely, and you get, you know, more relaxed. And so I’m hoping to carry that on, because yes, it’s important to know your academics, but it’s also important to know you as a person… and If I can convey that and support that growth, that’ll be amazing.

The Paw Print: What do you think is the best way students can use what they learned in your class?

Ms. Stevens: You use geometry everywhere you go.– [sometimes] you don’t even realize you’re applying geometry… What I love about geometry is that it requires deductive reasoning skills. And you need deductive reasoning skills to survive in life. And it makes you think. The answer is not so apparent. 

The Paw Print: What would you be doing if you weren’t a teacher?

Ms. Stevens: I’d probably be working in analysis. Something boring. Yeah, nothing exciting. Or to be more fun, I’d be in a circus.

The Paw Print: Lastly, we know you run the “Netflix & Chill” enrichment. What are your favorite Netflix shows/movies?

Ms. Stevens: I’m a superhero fanatic. I love Marvel. I only like DC for Wonder Woman because, duh, Wonder Woman (I am Wonder Woman, you know). Grace and Frankie is also hilarious. They’re old hippies.

The Paw Print: Any final thoughts?

Ms. Stevens: Oh, that’s it? Oh cool, alright. Well, that’s it. Thank you.

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