For many students, math is a dreaded and feared subject. Jared Cochran, a math teacher at Meredith Middle School, aims to help his students see how easy numbers can be, and that it can even be — dare he suggest it — fun. He’s spent the last 14 years making math a more accessible subject for students at Meredith.
Growing up, math was easily Cochran’s favorite subject.
“Lunch and recess were close seconds,” he says with a laugh. “I student taught at the middle school level and elementary and just fell in love with this age. I started college as a pre-law major. But I soon realized, I hated sociology, etc. I had some great high school teachers along the way, and I wanted to make the middle school experience as good as my high school days. Math always came easy to me. I enjoy showing kids that math can be fun and easy if they put in the effort. I especially enjoy our geometry unit because it is so hands-on.”
Next year Cochran is making the jump to the seventh grade full time.
“This past year I split my time between sixth and seventh,” he says. “I am also tackling the advanced math class in the seventh grade called Extended. I am also traveling to Colorado this summer for training on assessment in the IB model. I am excited to put these new practices into my units in the upcoming year.”
Cochran enjoys hearing about his students’ lives after they’ve left his classroom.
“I wish success in math for each of my students,” he says. “It’s hard to see students struggle. I have former students who come back to see me or find me on Facebook, and I love to hear how successful they have become. Some are still in college, but they are pursuing their hopes and dreams, and school was what got them there.”
Cochran stresses that it’s important for students to continue to practice their math skills over the summer.
“There are so many good websites and games out there on the Internet,” he says. “You have to devote some time to learning, even in the summer. Seventh grade math will be a lot easier if you haven’t stopped using all you learned in sixth grade.”
When Cochran isn’t in the classroom, he’s often found on the golf course where he coaches Hoover’s Boys Golf team.
“I started playing golf when I was 11,” he says. “I absolutely love the game of golf. It has shaped who I am. I have met some great friends through golf, and I have accomplished a lot in the game. I have been at the post now for two years, and I have some big aspirations with this upcoming fall team.”
Cochran’s summer has been great so far. He just returned from a seven-day trip to the East Coast making stops in Washington, D.C. and Ocean City, Md.
“I swam in the ocean, rode some jet skis, and played a little golf and hung out with family,” he says. “I was recently engaged to my incredible fiancé Jamie, who is also a teacher at Meredith, so we have been celebrating and planning for what lies ahead.”