This Pirate wants to
make a difference as
Rising senior and secondary math education major Rebecca Poole has always been gifted with numbers.
"When I was little I'd much rather do flashcards or something than read," said Poole. "I like being able to solve a problem. With math, there's a concrete answer."
Poole discovered her interest in teaching math while in seventh grade.
"We had a permanent substitute for two months, and one day he was trying to go over a problem and didn't understand it," said Poole. "I asked if I could show everybody how I did it because I got the right answer. Just seeing the light bulb go off for people ... When you can help (kids) understand and see that they can do it, there's no better feeling."
During her freshman and sophomore years at East Carolina University, Poole tutored at The Little Willie Center, an after-school program in Greenville.
"(I appreciate) learning how to relate to and understand kids from different cultural and economic backgrounds," said Poole. "I want to teach and make a difference and really show kids that math can be fun and they use it every day."
Poole's community outreach has taken her to El Salvador with her church.
"When you go to a country like that, you think you're going to be the one helping them and showing them stuff, but in turn they really show you what's important in life," said Poole. "I learned to be more appreciative of what we do have, and it's the little things in life like family and friends and helping those around you that matter. Not money, not materialistic things, not your own success but being able to show them that you care about each other."
As an ECU Maynard Scholar, Poole was given the opportunity to visit the highly acclaimed Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, Georgia.
"We did workshops on classroom management and classroom behavior," said Poole. "[We were taught] how to effectively run a classroom as well ... how to incorporate speaking into the classroom because the kids need to be well rounded in terms of English and mathematics."
Poole credits her passion for helping others to her mother, a physical therapist who has worked with children with physical and mental disabilities in the Pitt County school system for 15 years.
Her mother's profession has given Poole the opportunity to volunteer with the Special Olympics. "It touches my heart ... to be able to celebrate them and their achievements," said Poole. "My mom is an angel. Seeing her and how much joy she gets helping them is definitely inspiring."
After graduation, Poole will teach for four years in a public, charter or government school in eastern North Carolina to fulfill the requirements of the Maynard Scholars program, a four-year, $20,000 award modeled after the former N.C. Teaching Fellows Program.
When Poole isn't volunteering, she has stayed busy playing intermediate sports and working at ECU's Dowdy Student Store. Despite her busy schedule, she's maintained a 4.0 GPA.
She hopes to one day teach in a developing nation. For now, she is studying to be a high school and middle school certified teacher.
What advice do you have for other students?
Manage your time wisely and don't stress about things that are out of your control. Have fun and enjoy your time here!
What has been the most memorable experience at ECU so far?
In October, with my scholarship, we went to the Ron Clark Academy. Ron Clark was an education student here (at ECU) 20 years ago and he opened this astounding academy in Atlanta, Georgia. It's 30 percent extremely academically gifted kids and 30 percent underprivileged behavioral problem kids, and he pretty much flipped their world upside down. Their motto is 'You're not always gonna be the MVP.' If they didn't do a good job you need to tell them so that they know they need to improve. That was an amazing experience. That was probably my best experience at ECU.
Photography by: Cliff Hollis
Written by: Summer Tillman
College: College of Education
Major: Secondary Math Education
Hometown: Winterville, North Carolina
Clubs & Organizations:
ECU Maynard Scholars, Gamma Chapter (Math Education Club)
Hobbies & Interests: Playing volleyball, going to the beach, traveling, coaching/watching sports
Favorite place to eat: Chili's
Favorite Movie: Bring It On
Favorite website: Pinterest
Dream job: To open a school like the Ron Clark Academy
Favorite place on campus: the mall
Favorite hangout: the pool/beach
Favorite class: PSYC 2777 (Ethnocultural Psychology)
Favorite band/musician: Luke Bryan
Favorite TV show: One Tree Hill
Most Influential Professor: Dr. Charity Cayton
The one thing you cannot live without: My Family
Role Models: My parents
Your words to live by: Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you – plans to give you hope and a bright future."
"When you can help (kids) understand and see that they can do it, there's no better feeling."
– Rebecca Poole