EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

May 3, 2013

Math-loving teacher inducted into town's Educators Hall of Fame

NORTH ANDOVER — Mary Lou Lynch said she always loved math.

She loved it so much, she said, that she “wanted to share it.” Her sharing of a subject that often intimidates students must have been effective because last Wednesday, the retired middle school teacher was inducted into the Educators Hall of Fame.

Lynch, who taught at North Andover Middle School from 1976 through 1995, said she was “overwhelmed” when she learned she was this year’s inductee.

“I am still overwhelmed,” she said. There are many other teachers, she said, who also deserve the honor.

Yet several of her former students recommended her for the honor, according to School Committee member Stanley Limpert, who chaired the subcommittee that reviewed nominations for the Hall of Fame. After the subcommittee completed its research and nominated Lynch, the full School Committee voted for her induction.

Lynch, who tutors students at Thomson School every Thursday, acknowledged that math perplexes many students.

“Most kids like math the least,” she said. Lynch recalled how she would ask students to list how much they liked their various subjects, with the favorite at the top and the most dreaded at the bottom.

Math, she said, was on the bottom about 90 percent of the time. So how did she meet this challenge?

“I tried to make them (students) comfortable,” she said. Lynch would figure out how well a student understood fractions, percentage or whatever the material was and then proceed to teach them.

She said she did not hesitate to depart from “what the book says.”

Lynch said she made it a point to be “easily approachable.” She said she encouraged students to “never hesitate to ask for help.”

“If you don’t understand something, ask,” she would frequently urge them.

Lynch would also try to make math fun. For example, she would frequently incorporate sports themes into math problems.

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