An Interview with Mrs. Eager

Above+pictured+is+Mrs.Eager%2C+math+teacher+at+Renton+High+School.

Kate Godunov

Above pictured is Mrs.Eager, math teacher at Renton High School.

Mrs. Sally Eager is a name many Renton High students would know.  Her husband works as a Physical Education teacher and she herself works as a Mathematics teacher, but many students don’t learn more about her than that. I had the assignment to interview a teacher of my choosing and when I had chosen Mrs.Eager to interview, little did I know the interesting things I would learn about her. 

It was lunchtime when I had entered her room. Mrs.Eager was at her desk, her daughter by her side and a salad at hand. Before conducting this interview, all I had known about Mrs.Eager was that she was my Geometry teacher and that she seemed to enjoy helping students with their work. As I sat down in my seat, I greeted Mrs.Eager before asking my first question.

“Why did you decide to become a teacher?” I had asked off the bat. Mrs.Eager took a moment before answering. 

“My husband was actually a teacher before me,”

“For how long?”

“This is his 30th year and this is my 17th,” she answered, before telling me how she had become a teacher herself. Before Mrs.Eager had become a teacher, she had a job at IBM and worked many, many hours until she had her first child. Afterward, she left her job to stay at home and take care of him and along the way had two more children. Once her youngest son started Kindergarten, she started teaching. 

Next, I asked her how long did she study to become a teacher. Her response was not at all what I was expecting. She told me that originally, she had a Bachelor’s of Arts in Business Administration from UW. She went to classes for one year at Sartori through Central Washington University, so she could eventually teach business classes. She started by teaching business and marketing classes at Renton, but once again stopped teaching business and became a substitute teacher and was then asked to teach math, which was an easy transition because she substituted in math classrooms. She then got her Master’s in Teaching with her husband and Mr. Comer. She still needed to be certified in math so she then went to City University and got her high school math teaching certificate.

When asked what advice she would’ve given to herself when she started teaching, she replied, “I try to learn a lot from people around me and what I tell all new teachers is to listen to the advice of people around you because they’ve done it.”

I try to learn a lot from people around me and what I tell all new teachers is to listen to the advice of people around you because they’ve done it.”

— Mrs. Sally Eager

Her husband was her inspiration to become a teacher and she listened to his advice about classroom management and everything else he shared. She proceeded to tell me that when new teachers start out, they think they’re “the young gun” and think they know everything, they only know teaching as a student and quickly learn the difference and the value of experience. Overall, her advice to her past self and new teachers was “…ask some of the older teachers through their experience. Learn through their mistakes instead of making your own.”

A teacher’s work is challenging as they have to not only teach students every day but connect with them and make sure they’re in the right mindset to learn. But what makes it all worth it? Mrs.Eager told me that the most satisfying moment for her is when a student finally gets it. That “Aha!” moment. She said it’s like watching a lightbulb go off in their head. She told me a story about how years ago she had a student who wasn’t doing well in her class. He didn’t understand the material and as a result, was starting to act up a bit. She knew he was doing sports and tried to encourage him.

“Come on, you gotta be eligible, you gotta do this,” she told him, hopefully, able to push him in the right direction. Eventually, the student came up to Mrs.Eager and said “You know, I’m sure you’re a good teacher, but I haven’t passed a math class since 5th grade. I really don’t know what you’re talking about.” That’s when she realized that students don’t need to pass a class to move up a grade in elementary and middle school.
She was under the impression that he had known things that he didn’t. At that moment, Mrs. Eager changed her mindset and worked with that student until he finally passed the class. She remembered how during the semester final, he came up to her desk with his finished test. As she graded it, another student came up and asked a question about something on the test. He jumped in and answered their question, almost just giving them the answer, but Mrs. Eager didn’t care. She saw this student go from someone who didn’t know past 5th-grade math to this student who could beautifully answer someone else’s question in their own words.

He later went on to pass all his future classes, graduate and went to college. That was Mrs. Eager’s favorite “Aha!” that she’d had in her seventeen years of teaching. She talked about how that student had been acting up a bit due to not understanding the material and it’s very reflective of the same situations other teachers experience. I wanted to know how Mrs. Eager deals with “tough” students. 

She told me that it’s trying to find out why they’re acting that way. Mrs. Eager personally doesn’t believe that there are “bad kids”, but it’s more of kids that are possibly having a bad day and are acting “bad” as a result. She lets them cool down for a bit if that’s the case and it usually works in helping the student.    

Originally, Mrs. Eager hated the idea of teaching Geometry. When she was in high school, she hated the class because it was all proofs. Once the school asked her to teach a Geometry class she soon fell in love. Her favorite thing to teach students is doing constructions with a compass and finding triangle centers because it’s very hands-on and gives students who may not be good at certain areas in math a time to shine. 

Are you a fan of math?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

When asked what her future career goals were, her response was “Retire” with a hearty chuckle. She continued, saying that her husband wants to retire in five years, while she has 5-10 more years as a teacher. Mrs. Eager made it clear that she never wants to become a principal or vice-principal. “I wanna be a teacher because the further you move up in education, the further away from students you are…Yeah, I don’t want to be in an office somewhere and talking about when I used to teach.”

At the beginning of the year, teachers have a lot of preparations to make before the first day of class. Something Mrs. Eager does to prepare is to learn her students’ names and try to get to know them. The better you get to know them, the easier it is to know how to teach/reach them. “ I do the mathography as a way to get to know kids. I read those. It helps me to understand where kids are coming from and get to know their interests a little bit more. I try and do the school spirit days to make some connections.”

I asked if there were any students she connected with more easily. 

She connects to students that get involved in school more easily, whether it is in sports, music, drama, or badminton club.

“For the final question, what song would you consider to be your theme song?”

According to Mrs.Eager, her theme song would be “Keep It Separated” because in math you want to isolate the variable. “ I usually play 98 degrees. That’s my Pandora station, 98 degrees ‘cause I’m a math nerd. It’s a nerd thing. “

It was such a pleasure to interview Mrs.Eager and get to know the things most students don’t get to know about her.