Upper School math teacher Sharon Smith is a long-time member of the NSU University School community. Her immersion into our community first began as the daughter of an NSU alumna and sibling of a USchool graduate. Fast forward to today, Smith has been an advocate of our programs, mission, and students as both a USchool educator for the past 35 years and parent to two Lifers, also known as students who begin their journey at USchool in Preschool and remain with the school for 13+ consecutive years.
Over the past three decades, Smith has taught at all levels of Middle and Upper School math from pre-algebra and precalculus to algebra 2 honors. She also served as chair of the math department for 20 years. Smith’s love of math stems from her mother who was also a teacher and her biggest inspiration. Every day, she shares her passion for the subject with her students and motivates them to learn using effective teaching strategies and individualized instruction that best reaches students and helps them develop their own passion for math.
Since starting her career at USchool, Smith has made countless memories she will cherish for years to come, but of all these moments, the most memorable is when her former students return to thank her for the profound impact she has made on their lives. When it comes to her interests outside of the classroom, Smith enjoys completing puzzles, attending concerts, walking, and most of all, spending time with family.
Get to know Smith:
What are some ways you instill a love of learning in your students?
I believe my passion for my subject is obvious in the classroom. Through modeling and my own love of mathematics, many of my students have also grown to love the subject. I always explain the relevance and the “why” of what the students are learning, helping them to be successful.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
Watching students work in the classroom when they have an “ah ha” moment and realize they understand the material. I also love when students come back to visit and say thank you. I love my colleagues for their support and encouragement. They make every day better. I have made lifelong friendships here at USchool – there's nothing like our USchool family!
How has being a teacher impacted or changed your life?
Teaching is a huge part of my life. It has allowed me to be aware of differences in individuals and more accepting of others’ thoughts, opinions, and actions. I have the opportunity to help students expand their minds, help them achieve their goals, and mentor incredible young minds. I have learned to be fair, open minded, patient, resilient, and appreciative.
What do you think makes our students at USchool stand out?
Our students are more aware and open-minded. They are recognized, accepted, and appreciated as individuals for who they are. Students are “seen” and not able to fall through the cracks. USchool students feel safe and protected. They are educated in a risk-free, flexible environment.
What are some words of wisdom you would share with future educators?
Be flexible, kind, firm, and fair. Breathe and be kind to yourself and always reach out for support.