Knick named CHMS ‘Teacher of the Year’

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, May 17, 2017

How do you make a math class fun for seventh graders?

Charles Henderson Middle School teacher Kelli Knick does it by getting the kids singing, dancing and even rapping.

“We dance, we cheer a lot– there’s a lot of laughter,” Knick said. “At the same time, I challenge them to make me proud and make it like a game or competition.”

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“Oh– and I forgot to say we rap.”

Knick gave an example of how her eighth grade class had just incorporated a cheer and “dance” into a lesson on slopes.

“Today we were doing slope so we cheer and throw our hands in the air,” Knick said. She then demonstrated each of the movements– arms tilted one way for positive, the other for negative, straight out for zero and together above her head for undefined. The moves mimic the form the slope takes on a graph.

Knick also explained a rap her class came up with called “Flip and Multiply.”

““I’ll ask how we get rid of a fraction and the whole class will go into that,” Knick said. “I had the term but they created the trigger and they take ownership of that.”

Although Knick says she loves being a math teacher now, it wasn’t her original goal. She actually got certified to teach elementary reading but got certified for math to keep a job in the city school system.

“I love it here,” Knick said. “I get to serve the children at Southside Baptist Church, where my husband is the pastor. I wanted to be able to serve them in the classroom as well.”

Knick said her approach to teaching is all about serving others whether students, parents or other faculty members.

“I try to connect with (the students),” Knick said. “They always tell me ‘You keep it real.’ And I tell them you get what you give. You give me respect and you get respect.

“I also have that connection with parents. It’s my goal to connect with at least one parent of every student during the year to let them know I’m here to serve y’all.”

Knick may not have always wanted to be a math teacher, but she knew from her start in school that she wanted to teach something.

“In my little kindergarten book I wrote I want to be a teacher,” Knick said.

The other thing Knick always wanted to be was a mom.

“I get to be a mom all day now with my kids at home and the kids in my classes,” Knick said. “It’s really neat to see them grow up I think I am a mom to them in a lot of ways.

“I love to be able to help them. I like that mentoring role. That’s where I thrive.17