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Mrs. Mauk’s love of math helps students learn

Math teacher Stephanie (Mayfield) Mauk ’99 loves her job, and it shows. She loves her subject, and she enjoys helping her students learn problem solving skills to help them find the right answer. She is in her eighth year at Providence, and her 16th year overall. She also is in her sixth year as Math Department chairperson. She teaches AP Calculus, Honors Precalculus & Trigonometry, Precalculus & Trigonometry, and Probability & Statistics.

As much as she enjoys teaching math, she wasn’t always certain math would be her subject. Although she enjoyed her math classes at Providence, she also likes history. Once she decided she wanted to become a teacher, she knew she had to choose between the two. Her history classes at Ball State University, however, focused on “memorizing a lot of dates,” she said. She enjoyed her math classes so much more, that she chose math education for her major. She has been happy with her choice ever since.

“I like math because there’s a right and a wrong answer, but there are lots of ways to get there,” she said. “So we do a lot of problem solving, and it’s good seeing kids working to get the answer.”

Mrs. Mauk also makes sure her students have a variety of ways to apply the lessons she teaches. After she spends time giving direct instruction, the students spend the remainder of the block in a variety of activities, from board work to working in pairs at their desks.

“I want them to do most of the learning themselves and working to get the answer to add to my direct instruction,” she said.

Mrs. Mauk said it may look like students are doing most of the work, but she spends a lot of time preparing each lesson, especially since the department no longer uses textbooks now that students have iPads. She uses state standards and College Board standards to develop the curriculum for each subject and provides instruction and activities for students to master those standards.

She said she feels gratified seeing her students work hard to learn the concepts and necessary problem-solving skills. Her students not only take advantage of work time during class time, but many of them come to her room before school, and not only on BLUE Days. She also is pleased that the percentage of students passing the cumulative AP Exam has generally increased year over year. In 2017, 25 of the 29 AP Calculus students passed the exam, for example.

Mrs. Mauk applies the same approach of empowering students as faculty sponsor of the House of Courage. When she first became a House leader, she led the meetings but soon realized the students would be more attentive listening to other students, and the student leaders would be better leaders by taking charge of various tasks. Now, she sees the student leaders learning responsibility and working hard to achieve a goal, such as winning the Third Quarter Points Challenge.

Mrs. Mauk also has a creative side and gets to enjoy that as a faculty sponsor of the Pinterest Club along with Mrs. Mary Alice (Lenfert) Knott ’77 and Mrs. Corinne (Alles) Beyl ‘99. The teachers and students agree on a craft found on Pinterest and then get together so they can each work on the activity.

The House Leadership Program, extracurriculars like the Pinterest Club, and the close-knit community are some of the things that make teaching at Providence different than her previous teaching jobs. Mrs. Mauk taught at a much larger school in the Indianapolis Public Schools system prior to returning to the New Albany area and taking the job here.

“It was such a big difference teaching here,” she said. “I just love knowing everybody. I love going to the students’ games, and they get excited to see me and other teachers there. It’s a job where even if I come in in a bad mood, it doesn’t last long. The kids want to be here, and they are interested in learning. That makes it fun.”

Mrs. Mauk has a master’s degree in secondary education from IUPUI. She and her husband, Tony, live in Floyds Knobs with their son Lucas, 11, and spend much of their free time attending his sporting events. They are members of Holy Family. She also has two adult stepsons, Gavin and Garrett.

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