Top Teachers: Erin Bourne

Erin Bourne is willing to concede that the future employment opportunities of her current algebra students are unlikely to depend upon their abilities to solve quadratic equations on the spot.

But, they may depend upon their abilities to solve problems.

Bourne, who has taught eighth-graders for 11 years at Byrd, does her best to make algebra fun for her students while impressing upon them the importance of understanding the process they use.

“They might not use this specific topic, but what I’m teaching is problem-solving skills and how to use them,” Bourne said.

It’s working; Bourne is a student favorite who earns high marks for her classroom demeanor and willingness to help students who need assistance.

“Every child that has or has had her as a math teacher loves her,” one nominator wrote of Bourne. “She is patient and inspiring. Her knowledge of algebra and trigonometry is above and beyond. She takes algebra and applies it to real life, and therefore the kids seem to appreciate why algebra is essential for life. She is well respected and highly regarded by all of the students in her class.”

Math comes naturally to Bourne, who said she has always loved it but wasn’t sure what she’d end up doing with it. A career fair in college helped sway her toward teaching.

Students appreciate her personality – a mix of excitement and occasional silliness.

“I have been told before by my kids that I’m very funny – they compare me to Jim Carey in my facial expressions,” Bourne said with a laugh. “I’m very enthusiastic – I almost feel like I’m performing when I’m teaching.”

Bourne regularly holds tutoring sessions before school begins to offer extra support for any students who need it. She can relate to those who do.

“The kids would probably be shocked to know that I took algebra twice,” she said. “I got a C the first time in private school, then took it again in ninth grade.”

The fit at Byrd has been a comfortable one for Bourne, who describes the faculty as a supportive family.

“Everyone is supportive, willing to help,” she said. “Every year there’s a new initiative that the county wants us to take on, and those faculty members who have been trained in it are anxious to help others.”
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April 2017
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The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation will host the Virginia Ride for Kids at 11 a.m. The family-friendly loop ride begins at Richmond International Raceway and travels through Henrico County. Any make or model of street legal motorcycle is welcome. There will be activities for non-riders as well, including a bike show, food, vendors, speakers and activities for the whole family. The Virginia Ride for Kids is one of 30 PBTF-hosted motorcycle rides taking place this year. Now in its 15th year, the Virginia Ride for Kids has raised more than $1.1 million to help the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation fund childhood brain tumor research and life-changing family support programs. Admission is free but a minimum donation of $40 per motorcycle is encouraged. For details, visit http://www.rideforkids.org. Full text

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