Hear from Mary Patricia Peres-da-Silva about teaching Math through culture in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.Visit Website
Meet Mary Patricia Peres-da-Silva
I have taught Math in Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools for 14 years. All students and teachers receive laptops to facilitate in-home study. Most families are professionally associated with UNC Chapel Hill and Duke University. The district provides professional development, translators, and reduced lunches to support economically disadvantaged and refugee families. Our work environment is collaborative, parental involvement is high. Teachers are respected. Our district is a melting pot of cultures.
Why I Teach
I started my teaching career 32 years ago. My parents instilled in me the importance of education and the belief that “Someone can take the shirt on your back, but they cannot take your education!”. I grew up in India at a time when education comprised theory and rote memorization. Students had no opportunity to travel on field trips or access out-of-the-box creativity, which made me realize when I embraced a teaching career, that I had to make learning fun, creative, engaging, and globally aware. I grew up studying hard and wanted to make a difference in the world and to the next generation, our children, and the future of my country. As a teacher, I have touched and influenced the lives of thousands of students while inspiring their career choices. What keeps me going is the constant reminder and memories of Valentine notes I receive from past students, such as “You never know what you have until it’s gone!”, “Teachers don’t teach for the income. Teachers teach for the outcome”. I leverage the internet and web technologies to plan engaging, interactive activities that involve rigor to challenge my students. As a teacher of color, I work diligently to protect all my students by being vocal about issues on bias, culture, and diversity, which I incorporate into my Math lessons. I share stories of my own three children (now adults who graduated UNC Chapel Hill and Stanford University); in the hopes that all students will be college-bound. As teachers, we can hope and dream that we are able to touch and change at least a handful of students. I believe that inside every child is a well of academic potential waiting to be tapped and harnessed in the right direction. I work very hard to help my students overcome adversity and see themselves as winners, believe in themselves, set very high expectations and personal life goals. I strive to take the time to develop relationships with all my students. Most days, I feel that it’s more play than work. I love teaching middle school!