It’s all about relationships

Fun, goofy and productive. Considerate, gregarious and persistent. Loving, hilarious and intuitive. If you’ve never met Pre-Calculus and Geometry teacher Nadine Herbst, these are some adjectives her colleagues and students use to describe her. The relationships she has formed and supported throughout the 11 years teaching here has changed her, and everyone around her, for the better. During our 30 minute interview, as a classic rock playlist was playing in the background, a teacher came in for advice and another student walked in asking, “Can you teach me math?”, which she laughed at and then sat down saying “Whatcha need?” Herbst said she wants to prepare students for the future while lifting them up in the present, and her way of doing this is by making as many connected, authentic relationships as possible.

“When I was in her class, I felt a connection with her even though she had almost thirty students in that period alone,” senior Theo Abalogu said. “She genuinely got to know each and every student and worked to really affect them.”

Academically, she pushes her students to do their very best, so that they can be successful in her classroom and in the future. According to her students, the trusting relationships that she’s built creates a mutual understanding of what needs to be done. When she works hard for them, the students become motivated to work just as hard.

“It doesn’t really seem like she’s your teacher, it’s more of a [friendly] relationship rather than a student/teacher [relationship],” junior Peyton Shelley said. “She pushes [me] to do [my work] and I actually want to do it to impress her because I know she has my best interest in mind.”

According to Herbst, one of her goals is to also provide a place where students can de-stress. During final and AP weeks, she hangs up a large coloring page that anyone is welcome to contribute to. According to her students, she also offers her time in the morning and after school to help answer questions and ease the anxiety that comes with taking difficult math classes. Her students expressed that these extra initiatives help them feel less anxious.

“She’ll put in the extra work that isn’t required from teachers, but she does it because she wants to see us succeed,” junior Spencer Denton said. “When I’m really nervous, I come early in the morning, and I just talk to her.”

For Herbst, the relationships she makes in and out of the classroom make it easier for her to teach and help the students build respect and want to listen to what she has to say. Plus, Herbst loves being around the students and being a part of their lives.

“A great day would be students in my room in the morning, working, socializing and being teenagers,” Herbst said. “I love my ‘quiet’ time, but I love being around people and connecting with people.”

Her job is to teach math, but by taking her interactions with the people around her to a more

intimate level, her students feel she has done much more than that.

“I still come in after two years for a lot of reasons: she’s funny, she’s kind, she gives me chocolate, she’s able to communicate and teach like no one else,” Theo said. “She’s my role model and I really love her and love being around her.”