#Oneword2018: Math teacher inspires students to adopt words for inspiration

“My dad was diagnosed with cancer during my sophomore year of college, and my word was hope back then,” math teacher Linsey Zimmerman said. “I had my faith, of course, but I needed something else to help me hold on.”

#Oneword2018  is a project Zimmerman is doing to encourage her students for a better year and semester. Zimmerman’s touching story helped her students understand the importance of words and how a single word can change so much in someone’s life.

#Oneword2018 is a trend that has been going on for a few months amongst teachers from all over the States now. Teachers are posting photos of their students standing in front of their colorful classroom walls and doors with hundreds of words stuck to it.

“I have a lot of new faces in my class this semester. I saw this project idea on my Twitter, and I thought it would be a good way of welcoming new students,” she said.

Zimmerman teaches algebra II and pre-calculus, which makes her students mostly juniors and seniors, but looking at the mesmerizing cards on her wall, it’s clear a wide array of students have bought into the idea of adopting a word for focus.

Zimmerman is one of those people who doesn’t agree with the flow: new year, same me. In fact, she started off the new year by helping her students to focus and make improvements in their everyday lives by sharing her personal story, and changing her word with them that she’s been sticking to for a very long time.

“My word of 2018 is perspective,” Zimmerman said. “I am willing to change my perspective toward everything: my kids, my students and so on.”

Zimmerman is not only breaking stereotypes with her students, but with her project that is related to linguistic skills rather than her traditional concentration on math as well.

“Some of my students were very creative and came up with really nice decorations, but some of them were not, and they just wrote their words down, which I told them was OK because I’m not creative, and that’s why I’m a math teacher,” she said.

Writing a word might seem like a really simple thing to do but considering the fact that teenagers spend most of their time online and coming across popular, pessimistic social media posts, it can be a challenge.

“I think the one word idea really gives a focus for something you can do better whether it be in the next week, month or year.  I did not find much challenge in finding a word because I think using the first word that pops into your head allows the most important aspect of change to be brought out,” sophomore Annika Strohm said.

No matter the challenges, Zimmerman’s students actively participated in the project. “This project made me really happy. The participation was great, and I got to know my students better,” she said.

 

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