The people in Nichole Fowler’s life knew she would be a teacher even though she resisted. Fowler said she likes to tell people what to do and show them how to do things correctly, so they thought she would be a great teacher.
She had different plans, however. Fowler originally wanted to be a lawyer. She received her undergraduate degree in math from Virginia State University and a master’s degree in secondary education from Grand Canyon University.
“I feel that God knew what I was supposed to do, but I was fighting back [because] everyone thought that I was going to be a teacher,” Fowler said. “And I was just like, ‘No, no,’ but now I love it. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.”
Fowler has been teaching for 16 years. She spent eight years at Monacan High School and currently teaches math at Matoaca High, where she is also the co-department chair.
Fowler has a traditional teaching style and believes in giving homework because she wants students to practice so she knows they understand what they’ve been taught.
Although she incorporates technology into the classroom, “sometimes technology makes the children feel that they’re not confident in the math,” she said. “So if I have the opportunity to slide the technology to the side so they can show me that they know it, then I’ll take that opportunity every time.”
Fowler shared a story about a former student who went from struggling as a freshman to receiving a math award her senior year.
“Having the kids say, ‘I don’t like math but I like math with you’…warms my heart,” she said. “Having kids say, ‘Miss Fowler, I’ve never passed a math SOL, but I passed it with you,’ that keeps me going, that gives me the drive.”
Last spring, Fowler was named Matoaca High’s Teacher of the Year.
“It’s something that teachers look forward to. Not too many teachers actually achieve that in their teaching career, so for myself to have done that, I feel very honored,” she said.
Former students sometimes return to visit her, and some found her on social media and asked for help with math, which Fowler obliges with after-school lessons.
Fowler said she enjoys working with students and plans on teaching for a long time
“The good days [are] when they’re working in groups, and I just hear the math conversations going on … and that is just joy to my heart,” Fowler said. “I’m like, look at them using the math vocabulary I taught them. You know, they’re arguing about it. They’re trying to prove their point, so stuff like that really makes me proud…”