Mathing While Laughing — Ms. Boyle Shares Her Passion for Teaching


Seleste Maldonado Ruiz

Ms. Boyle loves traveling around the world, with places such as Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam being her favorite countries that she has visited. She hopes to be able to take her kids to all of the places that she was able to visit in the near future.

Rita Tran, Staff Reporter

Born and raised in Tualatin, Oregon, Algebra and Geometry teacher Ms. Kristin Boyle grew up biking around with her neighborhood friends for hours on end and spending time with her older sister, with whom she is still very close to. 

From a young age, Ms. Boyle always had a certain type of job in mind, but she didn’t know exactly what that job would entail. “I think I always wanted a job that helped people,” she said.

However, when Ms. Boyle was attending Our Lady of the Lake for elementary and middle school — where her mother was her sixth grade teacher — she became interested with the idea of a career in teaching, but she still tried various jobs to see what would fit her best. 

Over one summer in high school, she volunteered at a hospital to see if she would enjoy a job as a nurse, but ended up realizing it wasn’t the job for her. In college, Ms. Boyle switched gears and tried out nannying and tutoring kids, which sparked an even bigger interest in pursuing a teaching career.

In college, Ms. Boyle majored in English and minored in Mathematics, still unsure exactly what she wanted to do in the future. Finding that she was more interested in math, she got a job as an instructional assistant at a school in Portland, teaching Algebra and Geometry. 

After teaching math to fifth through eighth graders for about 14 years, Ms. Boyle felt like it was time to try something different, and teaching at a high school was the obvious choice for her. Ms. Boyle applied to teach algebra and geometry at La Salle because she “heard good things about the school,” she said.

So far, having taught at La Salle for just under two years, Ms. Boyle has had no regrets with her decision to try something a little different. The smaller size and supportive energy of the school is the really compelling factor for her. “Working in a high school is just more fun than working in a middle school,” she said. 

Because of the teachers and students at La Salle, she always feels uplifted. “I could see myself sending my kids here,” she said, “Which makes me really happy to know that there is a really supportive community and good education.”

In class, Ms. Boyle always tries to make learning fun and interactive, making sure to include games and activities after too many consecutive lessons with a lot of sitting down. She acknowledges that each student learns differently, so she always tries to help her students find a way that works best for them to understand the lesson. 

“Sometimes I think we have to get out of our seats and keep learning but do it in a different way,” Ms. Boyle said. 

Her main goal for her students is for them to feel successful and for them to know that it is possible for them to become good at math. Success to her is not just getting an A, but working hard and feeling good about what you’re doing. 

“Success looks different for different students,” Ms. Boyle said. 

Ms. Boyle tries to teach her students using many examples and visuals, showing them different methods on how to get to an answer. She also deeply believes in a lot of repetition. “I think to learn is to practice and make mistakes and find your mistakes and figure out why you made them,” Ms. Boyle said. 

Aside from teaching students math, Ms. Boyle’s favorite part about teaching is when students make her laugh. Her students are some of the funniest people to her, always making her enjoy her time with them and sharing jokes. “I think that I relate to people really well through laughing,” Ms. Boyle said. “When you’re just simultaneously laughing with people, that feels like connection to me.”

The hardest part about teaching for Ms. Boyle is trying to emotionally separate her school life from her out-of-school life. 

“I’m always thinking about students and [their] challenges and that can be kind of emotionally challenging,” she said. “Especially coming home to my own children and their own dilemmas.”

There are also times when she feels stressed by the amount of work to do, feeling like she sometimes does not have enough time to plan and grade. 

Outside of teaching, Ms. Boyle is currently very concentrated on training for her first full marathon. It is one of the things on her bucket list, so she has been working to be able to check it off. Running at home and also at school, she finds that it is a personal thing for her to do that is fun and stress-free. 

Ms. Boyle also loves spending time with her husband and two kids, trying to be with them as much as she can. Family is one of the most important things in her life, so maintaining the balance between work and family can be tough, but is something that she strives to do daily. 

Ms. Boyle’s goal in life is just to be happy and to enjoy it. In addition, she wants to be able to make others around her happy. “I’m enjoying what I am doing,” Mrs. Boyle said. “I want my students to be happy, and I want my family to be happy.”