What’s Next…

Jennifer VanderMeer
Developmental Math

I was immediately hired as a math teacher in a school district and soon after by Lansing Community College where I have taught developmental math for almost fifteen years. I hoped to be that support, encouragement, and knowledgeable guide to success in the area of concern that I faced myself.

After graduating high school I knew I needed to and planned to start a college path, but was very unsure of what path was of interest to me. Living in Lansing and having older siblings that attended Lansing Community College I knew I would start there.

I started by signing up for all the basics that I would need to transfer. I knew I had some time to figure out my major. What I didn’t know or anticipate was that there was going to be an area of study that was going to slow my progress no matter my major choice, math.

Take a math lab and move at my own pace? Perfect! Or I thought. Come to find out I wasn’t successful at teaching myself the concepts or passing the tests demonstrating mastery of skills. After failing, I decided to take a lecture method for round two. Little did I know that this also was not working and my fear and anxiety were a real barrier now.  I knew I had to look further for support.

I walked in to the math lab to ask for advice and met a blessing in disguise. Well, is wasn’t a real disguise, she was dressed in professional attire looking to attend to math students. I got to share my story, defeat, and honestly some tears. This incredibly generous instructor and tutor agreed to help me anytime one on one at her desk during certain hours. This woman known as Carol helped, saved, and changed my life. Not only did my basic skills get corrected and understood with her help, I went on to a math minor with earning my Bachelors in Education at Central Michigan University. Furthermore I got my Master’s degree in the Art of Education at Olivet College. She didn’t throw out one life preserver, but two.

Not only did Carol create success for me, she helped me be able to create that success for many others as I teach. I am a walking success story. Not a chance in the world you could have told me that that’s what was next for me or to be able to pass on to so many others.  Sharing her story is much more than I may ever have as an instructor, but a goal constantly in my thoughts and plans. This is a tribute to her as she was never told before the chance was gone. I will continue her legacy through my career and devotion to students and their success.