Oakman High teacher's love for math, running

By NICOLE SMITH, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 9/27/16

OAKMAN — When Mariel Calloway isn’t teaching math to her students at Oakman High School, you may find her running a marathon and counting the miles to the finish line.

Calloway graduated from Walker High School with …

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Oakman High teacher's love for math, running

Posted

OAKMAN — When Mariel Calloway isn’t teaching math to her students at Oakman High School, you may find her running a marathon and counting the miles to the finish line.

Calloway graduated from Walker High School with honors in math and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in math from Athens State University. Choosing math as a major and a career choice was an easy decision, she says, because it’s a subject she has always had a passion for.

“To me, math is very black and white. Your answer is a positive three or a negative three, and there’s no gray area,” Calloway said. “There’s a certain way to work a problem, and it’s all numbers, it’s all lined up and that was always the appeal to me. You work a problem and you either get it right or wrong. There’s no objectivity.”

She added, ”I’m definitely a big fan of algebra, Algebra I, Algebra II, even into Pre-Calculus.”

Calloway spent nine years teaching math at Maddox Middle School in Jasper. There, she taught 7th grade math for six years and 8th grade algebra and pre-algebra for three years.

To be closer to home, she made the move to Oakman High School and just began her first year of instruction there. She now teaches ninth through twelfth grade students, and says it has been a bit of an adjustment.

“So far, so good,” Calloway said. “It’s been an adjustment coming from middle school level kids to high school level kids. The biggest adjustment is at Maddox we were on 65-minute periods and here we’re on 90-minute periods. That’s a big difference.”

She makes up for the time difference by giving her students periods to stretch and complete engaging tasks, and she said it’s the “light bulb moments” she loves the most.

Calloway is also busy counting outside the classroom — miles and distance, that is.

One of her hobbies is running, and Calloway completed her first marathon last December. She’s currently training for two marathons this fall — one in Chattanooga and one in Memphis.

She runs with the Jasper Track Team, and Calloway says around 80 runners from the team will travel with her to run in the marathon in Memphis.

“It’s just something that keeps you in shape, and I’ve met a lot of folks running with Jasper Track that I wouldn’t have met otherwise,” she said.

Calloway said the faculty and staff at Oakman have welcomed her to the school family, and she hopes to one day retire there.

“I definitely just want to survive my first year, get into the routine of being here. I would like to teach at Oakman for the remainder of my career. ... We’re rooted in the community,” she said.