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C. J. Fryer

C. J. Fryer, Beechwood Independent

Where do you teach? Beechwood High School

What subject(s)/grade(s) do you teach? AP Calculus and Pre-Calculus

How many years have you taught? 9

Why did you become a teacher? I have always been passionate about mathematics. Many people in my life tried to convince me to become an actuary or to pursue a more lucrative career. But my passion for mathematics is only matched by my passion for education and students. Simply put, I became a teacher because I wanted to share the joy and beauty of mathematics with people everywhere! Math education has been in dire need of reform for quite some time, and I felt a calling to be part of that change. Additionally, I wanted to play a positive role in my students’ lives, beyond just the context of our course content. Teaching has been an incredibly rewarding vocation in my life that I am eternally grateful for!

What has been the best part of teaching that you didn’t expect when entering the profession? I didn’t expect how much my students would change my life. We all know that teachers strive to make a difference in the lives of their students … but the impact my students have made on me through the years is off the charts! I’m inspired by their resilience in difficult situations. I’m amazed by their creative approaches to challenging math problems. I’m touched by the genuine kindness they show to their peers and to me. I know I am a better human being due to the interactions I’ve had with the hundreds and hundreds of students I’ve been honored to call my kiddos!

What is one thing you wish non-teachers knew about what you do? I wish non-teachers knew that we never stop thinking about our students. They truly are my kiddos and occupy as much of my mind and heart as my own biological children do!

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment as a teacher?I have helped students who have always thought they hated math or believed they weren’t a “math person” come to embrace mathematics and truly accept that they are capable and worthy of meaningful mathematical engagement. “To love is to believe that everyone can flourish in mathematics.” -Francis Su

Favorite thing to do when you aren’t teaching? When I’m not teaching, I love spending quality time with my incredible family! Danielle is my amazing wife of 11 years, and she also makes a difference in the lives of others as a Registered Nurse at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center. We have been blessed with three wonderful children: Penelope (8), Sawyer (5), and Scarlett (born in May 2021!). Whether we’re hiking outdoors or having a family game night, we always have a ton of fun together! I have also been a soccer referee for more than 23 years and currently officiate NCAA and KHSAA matches. Soccer has always been an integral part of my life, and I’m a huge fan of FCC, USMNT, USWNT … but most importantly, a passionate fan of my own kids’ teams!

If you could have a superpower, what would it be? If I had a superpower, it would be the ability to slow down or create more time. There’s simply never enough time to do it all. Lesson planning, grading, making positive family contacts, facilitating student clubs, attending school sporting events, being involved in professional statewide organizations, etc. … not to mention time for my own family and home life! I’ve come to the realization, however, that no matter how much time you have, there is never enough of it. There will always be something more you want to do for your students. The most important advice I’ve been given is that I am enough. I give my all — I give what I physically/mentally can afford to give — and my students will be OK. They feel the love I express in my words and actions as their teacher. And I’m the best I can be for them when I also give appropriate time for myself and my family, too. Teacher self-care goes a long way!