The teenager stood in front of the class and worked algebra problems on the blackboard.
As a freshmen in high school, Pam Wishmeyer was always called up to the board to work problems.
If she worked too fast, her teacher told her to slow down and explain it in the same way she would when she taught one day.
Wishmeyer had never thought of being a teacher before. Mr. Ford, her math teacher at DeKalb High School in northeast Indiana, planted the idea.
About 40 years later, she still is teaching math.
Wishmeyer was named the teacher of the year for Greenwood Community Schools.
For 37 years she has taught geometry, algebra and remedial math classes to Greenwood students.
Before that high school math class, becoming a teacher wasn’t one of Wishmeyer’s goals.
She was the only one ever called up to the board and told to work a problem and told that she would need to work it the way a teacher would, she said.
“I give all the credit to my Algebra I teacher in high school,” Wishmeyer said. “I don’t know why I was singled out over everyone else.”
She was a cadet teacher as an upperclassman in high school. At first, organizers wanted her to teach elementary-aged students.
Wishmeyer soon realized that she liked working with older students and that math clicked for her. The subject forged her career path.
“Math was the subject that was really easy for me,” she said.
She went to Ball State University to get a bachelor’s degree in education and eventually earning a master’s degree from IUPUI.
Wishmeyer teaches a variety of classes, including classes for students who have struggled with math.
Her goal is to give them confidence to know that they can be good at math, too, she said.
“I see more of the struggling students. My goal is to make them successful,” Wishmeyer said.