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Education Spotlight: helping students give their best effort

◆ Shane Williams works to make every child feel successful.

“We need to help them see the bigger picture – that education will open doors for them in the future. We also need them to understand that what we learn as humans is the only thing we leave this world with.” – Shane Williams

Shane Williams, who currently teaches at SVMS, is in his 28th year of teaching Math in LCSD No. 2 and enjoys helping students to understand the mathematical procedures that many students find challenging and confusing.

“I had a number of great Math teachers and I was always pretty good at it,” said Williams.  “I wanted to teach Math to see if I could help more students be successful at Math. I felt too many hated it because they did not understand what was being done.  I wanted to help fix the system of teaching Math.”

Williams taught at SVHS for 25 years before transferring to SVMS 3 years ago. He has taught pre-Algebra, College Algebra and Trigonometry, and everything in between.

Raised in Lander, Wyoming, Williams was offered a position at LCSD No. 2 after completing a degree in Secondary Education with a Math Endorsement from Brigham Young University, Provo. He chose Star Valley because his mother had been raised here, and he had enjoyed his family visits here as a youth.

Williams is passionate about helping students understand that Math is simply a series of precise steps.

“I go to work each day, hoping to help some student be more successful in math.  If you understand what you are doing, then math is not so hard.  The various problems that we do may take some time to finish, but they are only a hard as you make them. I hope that every student believes in themselves enough to give their best effort. Everyone can become successful at Math. Some just need more time.  My hope is that all students can see this and understand that math is more than numbers, it is learning to think, using order and discipline.”

Williams knows that he has made a difference for students.

“About 10 years ago, I had a former student call and tell me that because of some of the things that I had taught him, he had gone into the field of Statistics and he had just finished helping with the election of the President of the United States. He had chosen a field that was heavy with Math. Due to something that we did in class, and having built his confidence in Math, his career was taking off and he was grateful to have had me as a teacher.”

“I wish that in the United States we could do a better job at helping our young people understand the need for an education and why it is important,” said Williams. “It is more than finishing an assignment or learning how to add or subtract fractions.  We need to help them see the bigger picture – that education will open doors for them in the future. We also need them to understand that what we learn as humans is the only thing we leave this world with.”

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