Teacher Feature: Jeff Kramer

Old Trail Math Specialist Jeff Kramer often finds it easy to relate to his students because he has never forgotten what it’s like to be one. With more than 10 years of teaching experience and two degrees in mathematics, he still remembers what it feels like to struggle in the subject.
“I wasn’t the best math student in middle school,” Mr. Kramer admitted. “I didn’t have the attention span needed to really dive into the problems. But my seventh grade math teacher, Mr. C, worked tirelessly with me before and after school, helping me develop the skills I have today. He was the biggest driving force behind my decision to become a teacher. He had so much patience with me and showed me that math can be pretty cool. I try to bring this into my work each day.”
 
Mr. Kramer’s ability to easily connect with students is one of the many reasons why his transition to OTS has been such a successful one. He joined the OTS Support Staff a year ago but has since expanded his responsibilities significantly. In addition to working individually with students who need extra support in math, he currently teaches math to all seventh grade students, including an advanced algebra course, and all fourth grade students. He also helps support distance learners in order to keep them on pace with the curriculum. 
 
“Jeff has moved into a new role this year with ease,” said School Psychologist Lauren Keller, who works alongside Mr. Kramer on the Support Services team. “Jeff is extremely passionate about teaching and cares deeply about his students. He is able to motivate them to learn new or complex math skills by making his lessons fun and engaging and can break down difficult concepts so they are understood more easily. He is always upbeat and has a positive attitude when teaching these difficult concepts, which I think allows his students to develop a love for learning.”
 
Although he has taught just about every grade level, Mr. Kramer said there’s something special about teaching middle school students. 
 
“The biggest mathematical growth happens during the middle school ages,” he said. “It’s when a student really decides whether to love or hate math. It’s my hope that all my students love math.”
 
Mr. Kramer attended the University of Connecticut where he received his undergraduate degree (mathematics) as well as his master’s degree (secondary mathematics education). He has a two-year-old daughter who he says “like my students, challenges me each day to be my best and bring my best to the table.” 
 
We’re thankful that Mr. Kramer is part of our team at OTS and proud of the impact he’s had on our students. “A true teacher is one who is not only pushing his or her students to do their best, but also being pushed by his or her students. My students challenge me each and every day to rethink and reanalyze mathematics and for that I am grateful.”

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#TeacherFeatureFriday is a series that aims to help the OTS community get to know our faculty and staff better. On select Fridays throughout the school year, we will use this space to highlight some of the amazing individuals who make Old Trail such a distinctive place for children to learn and grow.

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Old Trail School is a private day school for preschool through grade eight students located in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.