Teacher Martha Dalton has ‘the honor’ of preparing her students for their next steps in life

Published 5:00 am Friday, March 15, 2024

Lake Charles College Prep teacher Martha Dalton, 57, enjoys working with high school students because she has the honor of preparing them for the next step in their lives and guiding them into adulthood.

Education helps to prepare the future workforce for the community, she said. As a math teacher, she is able to provide her students with practical knowledge that helps them after they graduate high school and go to college or begin their careers.

“Geometry has so many applications, it is easier for students to understand how it can relate to their lives.”

Email newsletter signup

Hailing from Birmingham, Ala.,, she graduated from Gardendale High School and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Alabama.

She has taught for 35 years, and has divided much of that time in several area schools: Our Lady Queen of Heaven, LeBlanc and Maplewood Middle schools and St. Louis,  Sulphur and Vinton High schools.

Now she is at home at LCCP teaching ninth through 12th grade geometry and precalculus.

Dalton was inspired to become a teacher by family members and her school experience.

She grew up with two aunts who were teachers. They served as role models, and one even taught Dalton government and economics in high school. Witnessing the direct ways that educators influence a student’s education while she was in school encouraged her to pursue the career.

“After experiencing the difference a great teacher versus an average teacher could make in learning new concepts, I wanted to use my knowledge to help others learn the subjects that I enjoyed.”

In school, she excelled because of her study skill and work ethic. She also enjoyed extracurricular activities, and got her first taste of teaching while in band.

“I was a drum major in high school and college and enjoyed teaching others how to march and felt comfortable in a leadership role. I always felt that music and math had a connection and enjoyed both subjects.”

In education, everything is always in motion and evolving. This is just how Dalton likes it. Each year, she encounters new curriculum, methods and students that help her grow.

“I like the fact that each school year you get to work with a different group of students, so your job is always changing and challenging.”

As a teacher, she never stops learning. She enjoys attending math conferences to find new effective ways to teach math to her future students.

In the classroom, she lives for the “aha” moments. Just in the way that she is continuously challenged in her profession, Dalton keeps her students on their toes. She teaches “bell to bell” and ensures that every day her students learn something new.

“I hold them accountable to a high standard and believe that everyone has the ability to learn new concepts.”

She said it is important to push her students to learn new mathematical knowledge efficiently because math is inherently a subject that “builds on previous concepts.”

“Students must have a good foundation of number sense and fluency with basic facts to be successful. If a student is missing a key prerequisite concept, they may struggle to learn a new concept. My job as a teacher is to analyze why a student is struggling to find the missing gap in their math knowledge and remediate that concept.”

After over three decades of experience, Dalton would tell new and seasoned teachers to hold on to special moments with students when the job gets difficult.

“You will never be compensated monetarily for your time, effort and emotional stress that comes with teaching, but when a student thanks you and shares how you have made a positive impact in their life, those moments are priceless.”