R.E.B. Award Winner: Sharon Hoffert
Just as Sharon Hoffert was beginning to feel burnt out as a high school math teacher, she began to work with students who were learning English as a Second Language (ESL). At that moment, her life changed forever. In one class, she encountered 20 students speaking 8 different languages. She admits her initial concern over the prospect that these students would negatively impact SOL scores. Over time, however, she began to realize their true potential and worked diligently to overcome the language barriers. These students were not remedial, but they did need her help.
As she began to experience success in the classroom, Sharon was recognized for her dedication with an R.E.B. Award for Teaching Excellence in 2007. With a $12,000 grant, Sharon pushed herself to try new things. Having never traveled outside of the East Coast, she took a trip to Central America where she learned firsthand about the culture and background of her students. Sharon also finished her master’s degree with an ESL certification and has since presented at several national conferences, sharing effective strategies for teaching math to language learners.
Through this experience, Sharon has regained her passion for teaching. Upon completion of a two year program, her ESL students at James River High School have caught up to grade level. In addition, her classes perform outstandingly well, earning a 95% pass rate in the Algebra SOL over the past four years.