Creative approach puts Talley in state’s top 40 [UPDATED]Published 4:57am Monday, April 8, 2013 Updated 6:57am Monday, April 8, 2013
It’s been 17 years since Fergus Falls high school mathamatics teacher Marsha Talley first stepped into a classroom as a teacher, and ever since that first day she knew there wouldn’t be a better fit.
“My personality and my style really fit teaching,” said Talley.
That style won Talley the Fergus Falls Public Schools Teacher of the Year award last November. With the recognition, Talley was considered for the state-wide award and named one of 39 Minnesota teachers to move on as a semifinalist in February.
Talley’s acheivement certainly highlights what makes her unique, even among the talented educators at Kennedy Secondary School.
With drawings and colorings hanging around her walls, students singing and dancing and even a cartwheel or two at the front of the class, Talley’s creativity has sparked an informative way to reach students.
“When I wrote up my protfolio for the judging, what I expressed was my creativity,” said Talley. “I have a willingness to try something different. I’ll go out beyond the normal structure for teaching.”
In her experience, that creativity has worked. While singing or dancing isn’t for every student, Talley said she tries to reach every one in the classroom with her efforts.
“Some of the stuff I make up is just dorky,” said Talley. “But I’m alwats looking for something that is going to meet the variety of learners in my room.”
Talley found out shortly after Easter break that she would not move on to the final 10, but the recognition of being considered one of the top 40 teachers in the state was already more than she had ever expected.
“It was just a little overwhelming,” said Talley. “I think of the teachers here and being chosen by such a great group, then to get chosen out of the best of the best.”
Working with such a talented group of educators, Talley said the recognition was humbling.
“I still look at teachers around here and think, ‘I wish I could be like them,’” said Talley.
Talley grew up in Iowa and received her BA in math education from the University of Northern Iowa and a Masters of Education from Viterbo University. She spent three years teaching in Brandon and has spent the past five years in Fergus. Now feeling at home in the district, Talley said her experiences are the best she’s found.
“I absolutely love it here. It’s been my favorite place to teach because of how receptive the students are and how supportive the staff has been,” said Talley. “It’s like fertile soil. That’s what I think since I’ve come to Fergus Falls. These kids are so receptive to what I do.”
With an “active” two-year-old and her husband, Paul, who is also a teacher at Kennedy, plenty of outdoor hobbies and involvment with area churches, Talley hopes she will continue to teach in Fergus. And on the days that are a little more stressful than others, Talley’s creativity works as a release as she plays piano at home, a passion she once considered for teaching instead of math.
“Originally I wanted to be a band teacher,” said Talley. “Now that I think about that it’s probably for the best that I didn’t. Now I come home and play piano at the end of the day. What would I have done then? Do math? I don’t think so.”