Instructor Helps Students Make Short Work of Difficult Math Concepts

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With her diminutive figure and youthful appearance, it would be easy to mistake Leigh Pannell for one of the Move-On When Ready high schoolers on the campus of Southern Regional Technical College in Moultrie. Sitting in one of her math lectures, however, one quickly realizes that she is a commanding presence in the classroom. Utilizing an updated version of an old-school overhead projector, students watch her solving complicated math problems on their computer screens as they fervently jot down notes. With a light, melodic voice, she methodically and steadily explains challenging math concepts to a classroom of rapt listeners. She teaches patiently, because she understands that math can be an intimidating subject for some of her students. "Math is a subject that builds as you progress. I tend to think about it as a staircase -- if you miss the first flight of stairs, you will have a very difficult time getting to (and mastering) the second flight of stairs!" Mrs. Pannell has been teaching math for 7 years, but she started her teaching career with middle-schoolers in Thomasville. She began teaching at SRTC in 2016, where she found a new tenacity in her students. "College students -especially technical school students- tend to have a specific goal in mind and are extremely motivated to complete whatever is necessary to reach said goal. I have found that most of my students are willing to do whatever it takes to succeed, even if that means spending countless hours doing homework, coming for help before or after class, etc."

Apprehensive students in Mrs. Pannell's math classes are not alone. The fear of taking an algebra class is one of the factors that can keep students from returning to college. Students often wonder why algebra is even a required subject. Mrs. Pannell frankly addresses those concerns on the very first day of class, telling students, "Throughout this semester, I will help you to apply many of the concepts to your everyday lives as well as to your professional lives. However, even if you do not use ANY of the math I teach you this semester, what you will definitely use is the determination, hard work, perseverance, motivation, focus, and organization skills that will likely be required to be successful in this course." This tough and practical approach works well. Her students make gains in each class period, often showing up early and staying late after class to work on challenging problems. "It is very rewarding to watch someone take ownership of their learning, put in a great deal of hard work along the way, and be able to achieve their ultimate goals because of this ownership and hard work. In those moments of success (no matter how big or small), their joy sincerely becomes my joy! I love seeing my students grow as learners and as individuals." As a personal side note, I was one of those students who was terrified of College Algebra, and I am thrilled to be earning good grades, as well as newfound confidence, in her class. Observing her work, it is clear that students’ success is Mrs. Pannell's ultimate goal, and that teaching students at SRTC is truly her passion. "Watching students develop life skills while they are learning a subject that I love so very much -- that is why I teach."

SRTC offers over 148 degree, diploma, and certificate programs that are designed to get you quickly into your desired career, and 27 general education courses that transfer to the University System of Georgia institutions and 19 private colleges and universities in Georgia. SRTC has instructional sites located in Ashburn, Cairo, Camilla, Moultrie, Thomasville, Tifton, and Sylvester for the convenience of our students. The College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). SACSCOC is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states. For the most up-to-date information on registration, class dates, and program offerings, log on to www.southernregional.edu or call (888) 205 – 3449.
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