Craig math teacher Cassia McDiffett sees student success add up often
CRAIG — When determining student success, one teacher looks only as far as the former students working in her community.
“I know that I’m one tiny piece of their education, but I still take pride in their success as an adult,” said Moffat County High School math teacher Cassia McDiffett, who has been teaching 23 years.
The Craig Press caught up with McDiffett recently to discuss her background and experiences at a veteran teacher.
Craig Press: What were you like as a student?
Cassia McDiffett: As a student I was shy, motivated by grades, and involved in school activities.
Have you taught in other places besides Moffat County? If so, where?
I taught one year at Westminster High School in Adams County. I also was the MCSD math coordinator for 9 years.
Why did you choose Moffat County?
I moved to Moffat County because that is where my fiancé at the time lived. I stay in Moffat County because of the small town. I have seen our school district and town provide a lot of opportunities for our students. I think the community supports our school, and our schools support the community.
How has your education, training, and work experiences qualified you for your role?
I have wanted to be a teacher ever since I can remember. I did well in high school and went on to college at the University of Northern Colorado. I did well in preparing to be a teacher. I had a great student teaching experience in Denver, with Mr. Hoops as my cooperating teacher. He taught me a lot, but mostly, he taught me the power of staying positive when working with teenagers. Teenagers come across as being tough, independent, not needing adults in their lives. But the truth is, many don’t have a lot of self-esteem. I try daily to encourage, point out their hard work, their learning growth spurts.
What do you do if your students don’t “get it?”
During my time as a math coordinator, I spent time working with elementary teachers. I had the opportunity to help teachers teach math on a concrete level. I use that philosophy with high school students to help them really see the relationship in the concepts we are working on. I also rely on the students summarizing to each other what they are learning, to help each other make connections.
If a visitor came to your classroom or office and took a photo, what would they see in that photo?
My classroom is set up in groups of four. Students are often working on an activity to help them make connections in math concepts, or they are working with each other to practice concepts.
How are you involved in the community outside school?
I am the sponsor for Key Club. The goal of Key Club is to teach youth about nonprofits organizations and their role in our community, but also to encourage teens to volunteer. The result is the positive rewards and feelings from helping others.
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.