Howdie Ms. Cao!

Ms. Cao is a Pre-Calculus teacher and an NHS coordinator here at The Ranch.

By Kabria Earp, Staff Writer

The Wrangler: How and when did you decide that math was your passion?
Ms. Cao: When I figured out that I wanted to teach, I was stuck between biology and math. During high school, I had three really great math teachers (Coach Reeves, Coach Guidry, and Mr. Throop) which led me to choose math.

The Wrangler: Was teaching always your goal as a career?
Ms. Cao: My career goal growing up was always to be a pediatrician. Teaching was always something I did have interest in and in high school, I decided that it was the more attainable goal for myself.

The Wrangler: Why did you decide to teach here at The Ranch?
Ms. Cao: I decided to teach at The Ranch because I am a GR graduate! I wanted to return and learn from the person who inspired me to be a math teacher most, Coach Guidry.

The Wrangler: How have things changed around The Ranch since you were a student?
Ms. Cao: Besides seeing new teachers and staff around, I don’t feel like it has changed much. The biggest difference is that when I was in school, all students were on a four by four plan where we all took almost the same classes. There was not the endorsement program yet.

The Wrangler: Why did you decide to become an NHS coordinator?
Ms. Cao: I was looking to be a coordinator or advisor for some student organization. NHS happened to be looking for coordinators. I was in NHS in high school, so I thought I could take this chance to grow students in NHS since I am familiar with the organization.

The Wrangler: What has been your biggest fear as a second-year teacher?
Ms. Cao: My biggest fear or hurdle was not knowing the answer to questions students have for me. As time passed, I have realized that it’s okay to say that I don’t know and I’ll get back to them when I know the answer.

The Wrangler: How did COVID impact your first-year teaching?
Ms. Cao: I think having my first year of experience during COVID eased me into teaching since classes were about half the regular size with students being at home/online. However, at times it also felt like double the work since there were students in person and online. Grading assignments on a computer is a lot more difficult and time consuming than grading physical. We had to teach the in-person students but also had to make videos for the online students.

The Wrangler: What has been your biggest weakness with your classes this year?
Ms. Cao: For the students, the biggest weakness that I have seen is students not being able to do tests without their notes/memorizing information. After a year and a half of tests with notes, everyone is out of practice and “forgot” how to study for exams.

The Wrangler: How do you motivate your students to do their best with a subject that can be difficult?
Ms. Cao: I try to motivate students by encouraging and praising them when they do good. I try to show them that they can do it, even if it is a little hard at first.

The Wrangler: What would you say to a student who is struggling with your class?
Ms. Cao: I would tell them to keep trying and specifically in math, practice is key. A big thing I have mentioned is that if they [students] are struggling, to let their teacher know. We can’t help if we don’t know you need help and it’s not always easy to tell if a kid is struggling. No teacher wants a student to fail.