By: Kyle Williams
Having been teaching for over a decade now, I got to sit down with FHCI’s math teacher Ms. Matte. Continue reading and you’ll find a lot of interesting things about Ms. Matte and her love for the students at FHCI, plus she’s an amazing baker! (Want proof? Ask our VP Mr. Ghassibe) There are many photos as well to go around to show you how much of an amazing person (and baker!) Ms. Matte is.
- How long have you been teaching?
- I started teaching in 2003, 2004. About 18 years.That’s how long I’ve been teaching. My first year was at York Mills Collegiate and I’ve been here ever since.
- Why did you decide to become a teacher?
- I wanted to be a teacher ever since I was in kindergarten. I loved helping other kids and during recess I would help with homework in all the different classes. I just like helping people. When I got older I liked to see other people have that look in their eyes and that they understood. It made me feel good, like a feeling of satisfaction.
- Why do you love your job as a teacher?
- You know, I have worked here at Forest Hill for almost my entire career. I have worked with some of the teachers in the math department for almost two decades. When you work with people that long, they become a second family. The people in the math department truly care about each other and help each other on a regular basis. If I don’t know something or need advice, they don’t even hesitate to help. And if they need help, I am there for them too. The other reason why I love teaching is the students. In a normal year we are together every day for 5 months. I tell my students that we need to be a family, to support each other, help each other and just be there for each other. That it is okay to make mistakes. Even I make mistakes. But that is how we learn. I spend more time with my colleagues and students during the school year than I do with my own family, so forming those bonds with people in the building is really important to me. Those bonds, those connections, are the reasons why I love what I do.
- What made you decide to do math, one of the most complex subjects?
- You’ll find this interesting but I went through university as an English major and I wanted to become an English teacher. At the time, when you wanted to teach high school, you had to pick two subjects. I was good in math and in English so I thought I’ll be an English teacher. When they went to hire, they didn’t need English teachers, but they needed math teachers. That’s how I got into the TDSB and ever since then I’ve mainly taught math, and sometimes English, but I love math.
- In 2017, you did an interview with the Golden Falcon teachers of FHCI before you knew them. How would you say your experience has changed since then?
- It’s changed a lot since covid, it’s very different. I’m using more technology than I ever thought before, I’m focusing a lot more on mental health, I think I did that before, though. When you come into my class I want you to feel comfortable, I want you to know it’s okay to make a mistake, we learn from our mistakes. I think another thing is as you become more experienced as a teacher, I find you’re doing less of the direct teaching with me telling you what to do. Instead, I’m trying to ask more questions, I’m trying to get you guys to figure it out, like why is this happening. It’s more important for you to figure out why something is happening because you are going to understand it better than just me saying this is how you do a trig identity or this is how you do a quadratic. That’s what I’ve been focusing on; trying to get people to understand the why, not just how to do it.
- What’s one thing you would like to see back at school, that was cancelled due to the pandemic?
- I wish we could just get together. For me as a teacher, I miss my colleagues. I’m mostly isolated so I miss them, and I miss seeing you guys have fun like at Hillstock. I miss Hillstock. What Hillstock is, just so you know, towards the end of May when the graduate class have their prom. The next day after the prom we have a big carnival, they bring in a barbeque and you can have hamburgers, hotdogs, chips and it’s all free. They have a popcorn machine, cotton candy, there’s singing and dancing. They bring in inflatables, it is so much fun and we haven’t had that in 2 years. That’s something that was so much fun.
- How would you respond to many people saying you’re one of the best math teachers because of the way you teach, making everything understandable?
- It makes me feel good because I work so hard and I really care about the students. For them to say what they say it’s like they see what I’m doing and they feel it, they feel that I care and that’s important to me. It makes me feel good because it feels like my efforts and everything I’ve wanted to do since kindergarten is paying off.
- Do you have any advice for students now and for the future?
- Don’t sweat the small stuff, really, and what seems like something big will pass. I mentioned that last year we all had to wear masks and sanitise, but life just throws things at you and you can get stressed about it but just go with the flow. Take it one day at a time, it’s okay to make mistakes because you learn from them, don’t let those mistakes pull you down and just take a deep breath.
- A bit off-topic, but we must know. What music and hobbies is Ms. Matte interested in?
- I like all types of music, pop music like 98.1 CHFI. I’m happy right now because it’s all Christmas music. I also like country music. I’m a country music fan. My favourite country singers are Thomas Rhett and the group Dan and Shay. I also love Ed Sheeran’s singing. My husband hates it but I have control of the radio so he doesn’t have much say. I like to read and I like to play mini golf. I love mini golf. I’m pretty bored right now, I have two kids, I don’t know what to do. I like to go to the movies. I’m a big Marvel fan. One of my absolute favourites is Thor Ragnarok and I just saw Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. I also love to bake. I think people at this school have had the benefit of my baking and I love Christmas. My house looks like the North Pole right now.
Some Examples Of Ms. Matte’s Amazing Baking Skills: