Ms. Stem's Take on Educating 

By Phaedra Fernflores 

March 4, 2024

Samantha Stem, or Ms. Stem to students, is a new member of the MBHS staff this school year, teaching one of school’s most hated subjects… Math! If you have ever stepped foot in a high school math class, you know what I’m talking about, the constant groaning when the dreaded test date is announced and remarks of “this doesn’t make sense!” after every lesson. Well, Ms. Stem is part of the minority of teachers that makes the dreaded subject of math more bearable, and some would even say fun. 

Ms. Stem’s passion for teaching math dates back to her college days. In an interview with Stem she said this about the subject: “in college I had a professor say something that has stuck with me for years, “there are too many people these days comfortable saying they aren’t math people, but no one would ever be comfortable saying they’re illiterate.” Since then my reason for wanting to teach math has been to turn non-math people into math people.” 

Turning “non-math people” into “math people”, as Stem says, is not an easy thing to do. A teacher must have empathy and enthusiasm when teaching a subject as despised as math. Ms. Stem possesses both of these qualities, and being in her Honors Algebra II  class myself, I can attest to this. When asked what her favorite part of teaching is, Ms. Stem said this: “my favorite part of my job is when someone feels success while doing math. Those moments when my students feel pride in their abilities is the most intoxicating joy a teacher can feel.” It is true that when Ms. Stem first arrived at Morro Bay High School a lot of students didn’t quite understand her way of teaching. But after giving it a chance, her students truly see that she cares about their success more than anything else. Stem’s way of teaching focuses on understanding the principles, starting with easier problems and progressing to harder ones once the basics are mastered. This philosophy is one we can all use in our daily lives, so next time you are trying to accomplish something, remember to master the basics first and you will truly be happy with the success you will gain from this, just like Ms. Stem. 

Ms. Stem on a hike with her dog Rincon