Math teacher Kayla White kicks off her first year at this school


Photo by Rae Weinstein

Math department head Kayla White enters grades into Synergy for upcoming interims.

Math teacher Kayla White makes the nearly hour trip to school from her house in Baltimore every morning since she started working here in September, knowing it’s a long journey but still accepting her position as the new head of the math department, which is the reason she moved to this school. White starts her first year as a teacher here and head of the math department after previously working at Paint Branch for 14 years.

Since starting here she has noticed some of the differences compared to Paint Branch. “They just got a new building so the building there is beautiful,” White said. “I walked into Wootton and was like how are there these amazing students here and their building is not very amazing.”

Starting a new school can be a big change for teachers and students. Students have said new people and a new environment can be stressful. “There’s so much stress on them. I try to help students with that. I think that the need of so much pressure to do really well is greater here than schools I’ve taught at in the past,” White said.

Living in Baltimore makes it so White can spend her weekends wrapped up in city events. “[I] like spending time in the place I live and experiencing the stuff that they have to offer,” White said, “To live in a city and have access to so many things. I like that.”

When deciding her career White said that growing up she wasn’t one of those people who knew they wanted to be a teacher as soon as they could talk. “I actually just really loved math and I knew I was going to do something math related. I’m not really a sit behind a desk person so I was like ‘oh I feel like I would be a good teacher’,” White said.

Only three months into school, students have already started giving positive feedback about White and her teaching style. “She goes in depth to explain how she got every answer and goes at a steady and slow pace so everyone can keep up,” freshman Taniya Sedigh Esfandiyari said.

Students have even said White is the best math teacher they’ve ever had. “She is very patient, she cares about how well her students do in her class and gives all the support needed to make sure her students understand the material,” sophomore Naomi Negussie said.
While students may love it, White herself sometimes thinks that her niceness can be both a strength and a struggle as a teacher. “I think I’m very empathetic and sometimes that means I can get taken advantage of. I want this balance of being supportive and not making it feel like class is like a miserable place to be,” White said.

White said that she’s grown so much since her first year of teaching and students agree. “I appreciate her kindness, patience, and effort to make her classroom a welcoming and friendly environment,” Negussie said.