Subtracting life’s negatives

Math teacher offers positive learning environment


Alyssa Kift

Mrs. Ayers helps a group of students during class. Ayers left her job as a chemical engineer to become a teacher.

Story by Thalia Hawkins, staff writer

She swerves around the desks at the signal of each of her student’s hands shooting into the air. Chemistry, Pre-Calculus, Algebra II–whatever the subject, she is always there to help, and she always has the answers. Whether she was paid to teach it or not, she knew the material. She picked up the pieces where other teachers failed.

Algebra II teacher, Nicole Ayers, has developed a great passion for her work. In her second year of teaching, her teaching style and friendly classroom environment provided a place for students to thrive. However, by accepting her job as a teacher, she was sacrificing other opportunities.

“I think it’s really cool that she would change from a high paying job and working by herself to coming down to us,” freshman Olivia Cross said. “She explains everything to us and teaches us how to do things the right way.”

Ayers started her career working as a production engineer for the Dow Chemical company in Louisiana. She worked there for just over 3 years until she had her first child. From there she had spent the last nine to 10 years at home full time with the kids. She had always been interested in teaching even when she was in college as a teacher’s assistant. Before that she was a teacher’s helper in high school.

“I’ve always taught Sunday school, kids church and things like that,” Ayers said. “So once my kids were old enough to be back in school, I wanted to do something I felt like I enjoyed and that I was hopefully good at.”

With a college degree of chemistry and chemical engineering, she had to prepare for new material. To adjust to the different learning curve, she has had to take classes in order to keep training to get better at teaching. Through her training she has come to love the subject and wants to spread her interest with her students.

“I think the best thing is getting to spend time with lots of awesome people, but it’s certainly hard work,” Ayers said. “A lot harder than what I expected.”

Ayers doesn’t think she’ll go back to being an engineer, instead she is striving to serve. as a curriculum specialist for the district. She plans to take this one step at a time.

“There are certain things you shouldn’t put a price tag on. So I might make more money, but I feel like my positive influence wouldn’t be as great,” Ayers said. “I feel like I’m taking things one step at a time just seeing what it’s like teaching in the classroom.”