Wayne State Lets Kyle Martin Step Out of His Comfort Zone
College is an apprehensive time for students. For those setting foot on campus for the first time, it’s not uncommon for shyness and silence to become daily routine.
But Wayne State College offers students the opportunity to spread their wings, get involved and find their true personalities.
It certainly did for Kyle Martin.
Kyle is a junior from Friend, Neb., majoring in secondary math education. He’s involved in Campus Crusade for Christ, Journey Christian Church College Group, intramurals, Math Club, Navigators, is a math tutor for the STRIDE program, and he loves to play basketball.
But it’s Navigators that he said has really given him a chance to step out of his comfort zone and let his personality blossom.
“I like the influence the Navigators have on who comes to Wayne,” Kyle said. “It’s a direct result of what people think of Wayne. That’s what they’ll [visiting students] remember. It’s a chance for me to tell stories of how much fun it is here and to just be around people.”
Besides his extracurricular activities, Kyle has always wanted to become a math teacher.
“Math was always my best subject, and I knew I wanted to teach,” Kyle said. “The math department here is challenging, but in a good way. There have been times when I’ve questioned its difficulty, but it’s going smoothly.”
Kyle is in his first semester of the NENTA program, the Northeast Nebraska Teacher Academy, which allows students to begin substitute teaching.
“I’m really impressed with the NENTA program,” Kyle said. “NENTA and my professors are helping me prepare for what I’ll see in the classroom.”
Kyle’s experiences with tutoring in STRIDE, which is geared toward first-generation students, students with disabilities or low-income students, have also been beneficial by giving him opportunities to interact and work with other students.
“The students I work with aren’t your typical students, so it’s a great opportunity to work with some of these cases to get me ready for teaching,” Kyle said. “It’s a great chance to work on my one-on-one teaching skills before a big classroom of students.”
Dr. Tamara Worner, a professor of math in her 14th year at WSC, has known Kyle since his freshman year and has taught him in several classes. She said that despite all the activities Kyle is involved in, he still maintains good grades and enhances classroom learning.
“Kyle is an extra outgoing math person, and he makes sure classrooms are interesting and lively,” Worner said. “He knows how to make it fun but still educational. He also asks questions that further what we want to discuss.”
Worner recalls a particular episode in class when she decided to use a new purple pen, but found out that Kyle was color blind. A big discussion inspired by Kyle ensued, and that made her consider other teaching methods.
“He’s the person who humanizes the class,” Worner said. “It makes a more community-type environment and helps students learn better.”
After student teaching in the spring of 2014 and graduating, Kyle hopes to teach at a larger school in the Lincoln or Omaha area.
“I’m excited to get into a classroom and start influencing kids’ lives,” Kyle said.
For students interesting in teaching math, there are many job opportunities in the field. According to Worner, two years ago in the spring, all but one of nine graduating WSC math education students had jobs lined up for the fall, and the remaining student was place bound.
“Once our students graduate, we have a very high success rate of getting students out there,” Worner said. “WSC has a great reputation of producing quality math teachers.”
For students in all departments at WSC, Kyle recommends taking all the opportunities you can, while you can.
“The relationships I’ve built here are next to none. They’re right when they say lasting friendships happen here,” Kyle said. “Don’t pass up an opportunity to get to know somebody. You’ll never know what you can gain from it or what they can get from you.
“And if someone asks you to play Frisbee at 11 at night, do it.”
Step out of your comfort zone—like Kyle did.