A day in the life of a math instructor

Ariana Beedie

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Robin SermershiemWebOver the 30 year span of teaching math, Robin Sermersheim developed a routine when starting her day at the office.

She checks her emails, grades papers and prepares a lesson plan for the 9 a.m. pre-calculus class.

“I like to get to class early so my students can get ready for class,” Sermersheim said.

For Sermersheim, math wasn’t her original career choice.

“I thought teaching was the last thing I would do,” she said. “I slid my way into education.”

Sermersheim studied computer science in her freshman year in college, but decided it wasn’t for her and teaching was destined, she said.

“I like math because it stays relatively the same, unlike computers,” she said.

Sermersheim, an Oakland City native, spreads her knowledge to her students about the love of math, and because teaching is in her blood.

“There are lots of teachers in my family,” she said. “My mom and grandma were elementary school teachers.”

Before, Sermersheim taught at Oakland City University and Pike Central High School, for the convenience of raising a family.

“I came out of college prepared to teach high school, but my husband and I started our family,” she said.

Sermersheim made her way to Pike Central, and received her lifetime teaching license. After 13 years, she came to USI.

One of the highlights of Sermersheim’s ninth year at the university, is the revamping of math 100.

“We’ve piloted a new format to math 100, for the past two years,” she said.

Math 100 combined with GENS 097 are now self paced courses, as opposed to having an instructor based class.

“With an instructor based, everybody follows the same schedule,” Sermersheim said. “When you’re on self paced, you can work as fast as you can.”

With instructor based, some get it and some don’t, she said.

Instead of class meeting times, students have one mandatory meeting time on Mondays, and then gain online lab time throughout the week.

Sermersheim stays in the lab throughout the week to guide students, but a main portion of the course is online learning.

“This is the first year that all the sections are self-paced,” she said.
Crystal Taylor, an undecided freshman, said she likes Sermersheim as a professor.

“She’s pretty helpful,” Taylor said. “She really makes sure we’re getting things in on time.”

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