Teacher of The Week: Perk embracing algebra curriculum in second year


Sruthi Lingam

Coppell High School Algebra II teacher Michelle Perk explains how to convert exponents into radical form. Perk began teaching algebra at CHS during the 2021-22 school year.

Araceli Reynoso, Staff Writer

Having moved from Baton Rouge, LA to Texas in August 2021, Coppell High School Algebra II teacher Michelle Perk is now in her second year teaching algebra. Not being the best at math originally, Perk found a way to make it relatable. She is now doing the same with her students. Perk taught her first year during the 2021-22 school year at Coppell and is now taking what she learned and applying it to the 2022-23 school year.

Since moving to Texas, how has it been teaching at CHS?

Teaching at CHS is lovely. The students are fabulous, and there is this whole camaraderie between the kids where they help each other instead of competing with each other.

Why did you move from Louisiana to Texas?

My mom had passed away and both of my grandparents had passed away. And then my son passed away. It was just my daughter and myself. She wants to be a chef, so I let her choose. There are more restaurants in Dallas than there are in New York now, so there are a lot more opportunities for female chefs here. So we chose Dallas because there are more places for her to cook, learn and experience cuisines and cultures. I applied at different schools and had heard really good things about Coppell when I got a bunch of job offers. I chose Coppell because when I interviewed with Ms. Springer she said that Coppell was a home. We were leaving Louisiana and I interviewed at 15 schools and I got 15 job offers. I let my daughter choose and she chose Coppell because of the diversity. She wanted to go to a school that had as much diversity as possible. 

What is the most important thing that you tell your students?

The most important thing I tell my students is ‘I love you a bushel and a peck.’ “A Bushel and a Peck” is a song that my grandmother would sing to myself, my mom and my daughter. When she got Alzheimer’s and could no longer remember, it’s the one song that my daughter would sing to her, so my daughter and her great grandmother would sing “A Bushel and a Peck.. Even though she couldn’t remember names, words or memories, she remembered this song.

What made you pursue a job in teaching math?

I was going to go to law school, and found out I was going to be a mom. I chose a career where I could have the same hours and days off as my daughter. I chose math because I was bad at it in high school and in college. I would have to find ways to make math relatable to me so I figured if I was good at that it would also help students that aren’t always the best at math.

What did you learn during your first year at CHS, and how have you applied it to the current school year?

Last year was my first year teaching. I would say that it taught me that student’s personalities come out a lot more when they are given the opportunity to talk to each other.

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