Back to school is my favorite time of year. (Yes, I know this is an unpopular position.) Buying school supplies, studying my class schedule and getting back into familiar routines makes for a wonderful end to summer vacation. However, it’s my teachers who make the back-to-school season truly special.

Throughout my years in the Selah School District, I have had some amazing teachers, and many of them still make my favorites list. But my all-time favorite teacher just happens to teach my least favorite subject: math.

Theena Roberts sits atop my Favorite Teacher List. She has been my math teacher for the past two years and will be again this fall. She has taught me advanced algebra, precalculus, and this year will be teaching me calculus, which I must admit I am dreading (content-wise). I am not a huge fan of the single-correct-answer system that mathematics is built upon; the personal inferences allowed in literature are more my speed, but Mrs. Roberts has made learning math enjoyable.

I look forward to class each day (though a bit less on test days) because Mrs. Roberts’ lively demeanor lights up the classroom. During class she amuses us with stories about her daughters, her cat and, in the winter, her drive from Ellensburg to Selah. Yet math is still the primary subject of class discussions, of course.

Her teaching style is based on interaction. I can tell she cares and makes a point to make personal connections with each student. She seems to have magical superpowers that allow her to know just what each student needs to succeed, and she teaches in a way that appeals to everyone. I wouldn’t call myself a stellar math student, so when Mrs. Roberts notices me doubting my math abilities, she makes sure to say just the right thing to increase my confidence, which in turn makes me more successful.

Theena Roberts certainly deserves a gold star. I could not be more grateful to have a math teacher who is thoughtful, entertaining and, most importantly, skilled in all aspects of math education.

Anna Ergeson is a senior at Selah High School.