Math Motivators Tutor Spotlight: Kayla Hill

Math Motivators Tutor Spotlight: Kayla Hill

Tutor Kayla Hill

Kayla Hill tutors during a Math Motivators session at Portland High School.

In college, Kayla Hill taught coding classes to kindergarten and first grade students, but she thought her teaching days were over when she graduated.

However, after hearing about The Actuarial Foundation’s Math Motivators tutoring program through an email from a colleague, Hill, an actuarial assistant at Unum, was able to rekindle her passion for helping others—this time, by teaching math to high school students.

“I absolutely love being involved with this tutoring program,” Hill says. “The relationship I have with my students is what keeps me coming back.”

As a tutor, Hill is there to jump in and help her students better understand algebra and other math topics that they’re struggling with. But, in addition to teaching them math, one of Hill’s main goals while she tutors is boosting her students’ confidence. For this reason, she brings small notes with inspirational quotes on them to each session, so her students begin with a positive attitude.

“I believe you’re better at math if you believe you can do it,” she says. “One of my favorite quotes I’ve given them is, ‘Those who believe they can and those who believe they can’t are both usually right.’”

She has seen firsthand that specific quote—and her work to build her students’ confidence—manifest during sessions, particularly with one of her more reserved students.

“This student was deemed very, very shy—she wouldn’t make eye contact and things like that—and she used to write negative comments on her papers,” Hill says. “Now, she writes things like, ‘I can do this.’ Little things like that [are why I continue tutoring]. You can really see the positive impact you’re making on someone’s life.”

Hill is keenly aware that her students thought the notes were cheesy at first, but she says that they’ve grown to appreciate them. “One student brought in one of my quotes on her cheat sheet during a math test!”

The Society of Actuaries has generously offered to match any contributions its members make to the Math Motivators tutoring program (up to US$62,500) through Oct. 30, 2019. By donating to this program, SOA members give high schools students the opportunity to improve their math skills while advancing awareness and appreciation for the actuarial profession.

Post by Kathleeen Hagan

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