Integral to students: Patricia Doyle

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Integral to students: Patricia Doyle

Tate Peterson, Staff wrier

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AP Calculus BC is infamous among high schoolers as the ultimate, final math class that tests students in as many ways as possible. Two college credits checked off by a one-ear class is not an easy task, but Patricia Doyle has been teaching at Allen since August of 1999 and has shown the possibilities that BC Calculus presents to the students that have embarked on this academic journey for the past five years.

“I’ve been teaching since this building was brand new,” Doyle said. “I came in to interview, and they said, ‘we need math teachers desperately’ a week before the school opened. We didn’t even have carpeting on the ground. They made sure to to tell me that I didn’t have to bother dressing up for my interview, and if I could breathe, they’d hire me.”

Doyle wasn’t someone who was intent on teaching math as her future career early in life. Her initial aspirations were quite the opposite of what would be expected of her now, but this was how Doyle found her place as a teacher.

“I ended up being a math major in college,” Doyle said. “I went to be a nurse, and they said, ‘You’re not nursing material.’ I didn’t have a health or biology background, or any of the required courses. They said, ‘I see a teacher on the paper, I don’t see a nurse.’ Plus you know, I would be a mean nurse. They’d have to empty their own bedpan.”

Doyle is able to constantly bring back fond memories and enjoys discussing them with students, introducing a dynamic within her classroom that all students feel comfortable laughing and relaxing in. She’s most proud of her previous experience in the Navy, as that was her major commitment before teaching.

“[The Navy] was like math in the sky,” Doyle said. “That was it, it was a chart, a ruler and we measured everything out. Everything we did was on the fly. There wasn’t any satellites. If we were off, the plane might not have gas to get back, ya know? We had to make sure people were getting to the right place.”

Fitting content from two semesters of college calculus into a one-year high school class requires plenty of attention to detail, but the dedication and attention required to make it through the class has its payoffs in the end.

“Our enrollment has, in BC, doubled in the last five years, and our scores have doubled,” Doyle said. “Our average score on the exam went from like 2.4 to 4.7. We’re nailing it. Even the AP people were questioning our math coordinator at the district place, and they were asking him:‘What is going on?’”

It isn’t just Doyle’s ability to teach calculus itself that makes her students so successful; it has a lot to do with the way that Doyle is as a person. The energy in a normal class with Doyle is incredibly impactful on the way in which most people view math, and her competitive spirit keeps students engaged throughout the entirety of her lessons.

“I really like the whole competition involved,” Doyle said. “When I go in the summers to meet with the McKinney teachers, I teach this little course with a teacher from McKinney to pre-AP teachers, and they seem to always say that they like the way they do things, and I just have to say ‘Okay. That’s fine, whatever. Don’t listen to me.’ I like asking them what their scores are, and they go, ‘Oh they were great; they were like a 3.5,’ and I say, ‘We got 4.7. Don’t listen to me though.’”

Doyle makes sure that she keeps her students busy, but she does so with an open mind and keeps her students’ feelings in mind. While it is an extremely challenging class by definition, it’s a class developed to set students on a pathway to success after a year of incredibly hard work.

“I really like the idea that kids are gonna get something out of this,” Doyle said. “There’s a goal for us, I love that. We got a goal, we got a test that I don’t write to beat, and I got people in other districts to like, cream into the dirt. I’m serious. I wanna smash them into the dirt and make them look dumb.”

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