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Teacher of the Month: Cil Guerrero

Teacher-Of-The-Month-cil-guerrero-03152017.jpgNMSI’s Teacher of the Month celebrates our amazing teachers, consultants and mentors for their work in and out of the classroom. In March, we sat down with Cil Guerrero, an AP Calculus teacher at Bossier High School in Bossier, LA., to hear how she inspires her students.
If you walk by Cil Guerrero’s classroom, you may hear the familiar sounds of “Hello” by Adele. Pay attention to the lyrics.
Instead of belting out the phrases made famous by the pop star, Guerrero’s students sing such lines as, “In right Triangles, I am king,” and, “There’s such a usefulness for trig.”
The musical wordplay is one way Guerrero helps her students understand and apply trigonometry and calculus concepts.
“The songs really allow the kids to take a more active role in class,” said Guerrero, a teacher in NMSI’s College Readiness Program. “It gives them a chance to get up and move and get goofy and they remember the concepts because of that.”
Guerrero comes from a long line of teachers, but teaching wasn’t immediately on her radar as a career option.
“I never thought I wanted to be a teacher,” she said. “My senior year of college, I started tutoring other students in math classes and it kind of sparked this fire in me that made me realize that I love teaching. I love helping students understand what was happening in math. It is amazing to me to see why something happens connect in their minds, which is a large reason why I love math.”
From there, Guerrero embraced her love of the classroom and took on every possible role, which meant teaching every math course a student could take in high school. Still, she didn’t discover her love of calculus until later in her career after attending NMSI’s AP Summer Institute.
“I re-fell in love with it,” she said. “Everything in calculus is like a cumulation of everything you’ve ever done in math. I think it’s really neat that it connects everything. The level of thinking and rigor is unlike anything else in math and I love to watch my students learn it.”
Guerrero says that one of her favorite parts of teaching math is seeing the valuable real-world knowledge her students take from her class.
“The way you learn to think and reason in math class is something that the world is lacking, which is one of the most important skills someone can have,” she said. “These are skills that these students will use not only in college, but also in their daily lives and in their careers.”
One of Guerrero’s favorite things about being a teacher is the relationships she develops with her students and their families.
“When I finish my career in teaching I hope there are countless relationships I have and numerous families that I have become a part of,” Guerrero said. “I don’t want to be anything other than a teacher. I love the classroom setting and everything I do is for the kids.”
For Guerrero, creativity is a key component of her career and seeing her students enjoy learning pure math through activities like her songs is priceless.