K-5 Numeracy Coach
Scott Computer Technology Magnet School
USD 501, Topeka
Sarah Smith Meadows always tells fellow teachers, especially first-year colleagues, to watch their moods – because a teacher is the “weather” in a classroom: “My actions and attitude are contagious and will determine the type of day my students will have,” she writes. “If I am suffering with a love of learning and learning math, then I want all my students to catch that disease. I set the tone of learning in my classroom.”
The feeling is infectious. Students and colleagues alike recognize how engaging her math lessons are, and the accomplished teacher sets the tone with her work ethic and broader engagement.
“Sarah Meadows lives and breathes mathematics,” writes Deborah Sidwell, the Scott school principal. “She engages every single student in the richness of mathematics by employing a variety of questioning techniques and effective use of wait time. She has an incredible depth of knowledge of mathematics and of children that guides everything she does.”
A former student who entered Meadows’ fourth-grade math class admittedly “loathed” math, and initially feared the class. Soon, though, she was fully engaged. “This obviously had very little to do with the subject and everything to do with the teacher,” the former student writes. “I was so enamored with [Meadows] and her ability to get everyone in the classroom passionate about something. Everyone enjoyed being in this classroom, even if they didn’t like math.”
Meadows earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics education from Emporia State University in 1974, and she began teaching in that same year.