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May 23, 2024

Badin’s Trotter brings innovation to her math classroom

Ask Badin High School math teacher Chelsea Trotter what her favorite thing about Badin is, and her answer is quick and direct.

“A lot of things,” she said with a laugh. “That’s why I came back!”

Trotter, a 2015 graduate of Badin, teaches Geometry and Algebra I at Badin after having earned a degree in Math Education from the University of Kentucky. She just completed a Master’s degree in Educational Technology at Miami University.

“I love the school community,” Trotter said. “All the support you feel at sporting events and elsewhere – there is so much camaraderie within the student body. Everybody just wants to celebrate Badin.”

Trotter’s return to Badin was a happy accident, according to BHS Principal Patrick Keating. She was about to take a job at a different school when a Badin math teacher – who just happens to be Keating’s wife, Erin – tipped Trotter off to a math opening at Badin. The interview went smoothly and Trotter was back in the school colors of green-and-white.

“Chelsea is the perfect blend of ‘old school’ and modern approaches in the classroom,” Patrick Keating said. “She has high expectations and her classroom management is as impressive as our most veteran teachers, but she has brought new approaches in technology and methodology to the Math Department, as well as the newest and most innovative techniques to help her students learn.”

Trotter recalls sitting in Erin Keating’s classroom taking a pre-calculus class as a senior.

“I really enjoyed math – I looked up to Mrs. Keating as a role model,” she said. “I was helping a student sitting next to me who was really struggling. I was explaining something, and I saw the lightbulb go off in her head. She said to me, ‘You explained that really well. You should do this for a living.’ And I thought … maybe that can be a career for me!”

But it took awhile for Trotter to make that decision. Her major at UK was “undecided’ as she looked at Math Education or Speech Pathology.

“I took a couple of math classes that I really enjoyed, and I realized that’s what I wanted to be,” Trotter recalled. “Those classes pushed me over the edge to go fully into education.”

Of course, when Trotter showed up to teach at Badin in August of 2019, she had no idea what awaited – a pandemic shutdown in mid-March for the rest of the school year.

“Being a first-year teacher, so much is new,” she said. “You’re trying to build a rapport with students and faculty, and suddenly everything is online. Nothing can prepare you for a pandemic and how to educate students in it. That taught me a lot.”

Between the pandemic and working on her Master’s degree, it’s been awhile since normalcy was a part of Trotter’s life.

“When we were back without masks (in August 2021), it was nice to finally resume things -- in terms of interactions with students and teachers -- that we take for granted on a daily basis,” she said, noting that she only had six months of pre-pandemic teaching.

The Master’s degree “was a challenge, but I had a passion to do it and I had to figure out how to get it done.”

Trotter said that Badin’s increased enrollment since her days as a student, “is beautiful – it makes it so much easier for students to find their niche. The school is much more diverse today, which is also a wonderful thing. Students are able to learn from each other culturally and be ready for the Real World.”

As far as teaching math, Trotter understands that “it isn’t a lot of students’ favorite subject. You have to build a foundation, a foundation of trust with them. Students don’t like to make mistakes. You have to let them know that it’s OK to make mistakes as long as they learn from them. You have to let them be comfortable with being wrong.”

Trotter is also the co-moderator of Badin Student Council, one of the more active organizations in the school.

“Whether it is helping organize the annual Homecoming parade or empowering students to lead their classmates,” Patrick Keating said, “Chelsea has had a tremendous impact on the student experience at Badin.”

“Badin inspired my career path,” said Trotter, who as a young teacher has occasionally been mistaken for an out-of-uniform student, much to her amusement. “The faculty and staff have been so supportive. They care and wanted me to succeed when I was a student. I want to be that person for our current students.”

Contact: Dirk Q. Allen, Dallen@BadinHS.org or (513) 869-4490

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Badin’s Trotter brings innovation to her math classroom