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What's Up Magazine

Kirsten Brandler

Jan 09, 2017 03:06PM ● By Cate Reynolds

Kirsten Brandler

St. Mary’s High School, Annapolis

Years teaching at St. Mary’s: 7

Currently teaching: 10th–12th grade AP Calculus BC, AP Calculus AB, Honors Calculus, Honors Pre-Calculus with Trigonometry, Trigonometry

Proudest teaching moment: “Last year I launched the AP Calculus BC at St. Mary’s High School after teaching AP Calculus AB and Honors Calculus in previous years. I had a wonderful class of students, and it was an honor to witness their growth from the beginning of Honors Pre-Calculus as juniors through the end of AP Calculus BC as seniors. My proudest moment came in viewing the students’ AP exam scores over the summer and learning that the majority of the class had earned a 5, qualifying many of them for 8 credits at their colleges and universities.”

Teaching philosophy: “As an educator, I seek to empower my students with a passion for learning and with confidence in their own abilities. I strive to create a classroom in which the process is more important than the answer: where it is safe to ask questions, explore ideas, and even fail, because it is only in our failures that we are able to learn and grow.”

Toughest challenge facing educators: “With the rise of educational technology in recent years (particularly in terms of mobile devices for students), one of the toughest challenges for educators is integrating technology in the classroom in meaningful, effective ways. Many schools view technology as a silver bullet, but technology alone cannot solve the problems of a school. I subscribe to Kentaro Toyama’s Law of Amplification with regard to technology: technology can only amplify what is already there, and it can have positive or negative effects depending on the intentions of its users. In the classroom, technology can have an incredibly positive effect if the classroom culture already encourages learning and if students have the desire to learn. Without that culture in place, blindly throwing technology into the curriculum can be useless—or, even worse, detrimental to student learning. I am continually working to integrate technology into my classroom in ways that enhance the positive work that my students are already doing without technology.”

Mrs. Kirsten Brandler strives to help all students discover a love of mathematics. Kirsten shares her gifts in and outside of the classroom. While at the University of Maryland, she sang in an a cappella group, and she felt called to form an a cappella group here at St. Mary’s called Nothing But Treble, NBT. The lessons they learn are the same that Mrs. Brandler teaches in the classroom and on retreats—all students need to have passion, faith, and a goal of collaboration. Mrs. Brandler is an educator who is called to inspire change in the world, one student at a time, and she is an exemplary member of our faculty.” —Mindi Imes, Principal

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