Eighth grade math can be pretty tough... but the right teacher makes all the difference.
At Heritage Middle School in Catoosa County one group of students say their teacher's got what it takes.
Phil Jones is this week's Golden Apple Award winner.
For the 8th graders in Phil Jones Advanced Math class at Heritage Middle School finding the slope of a line is no big deal.
The 11 year veteran teacher has spent most of his time in middle school classrooms, helping kids solve math problems... but keeping it fun just the same, "You just gotta love the middle schooler, their energy and what they bring to the classroom."
Funny thing is... That's what the kids say about Mr. Jones.
8th Grader Grace Ellis reads from her Golden Apple nomination letter, "He is funny. He's energetic and really loves math and you can see that in the way he teaches."
Thirteen year old Grace says Jones is her favorite teacher, teaching her favorite subject, but he does it in a way that makes everyone like math, "In classes that have teachers that aren't as nice, you tend to not pay as much attention and not want to learn as much."
Grace says Mr. Jones keeps the atmosphere relaxed with incentives and fun math games...plus he spends one-on-one time with each student until everyone understands.
Mr. Jones says, "At the end of the day I want to help the kids do better."
Mr. Jones says that comfortable environment is key for helping his kids learn.
Teaching runs in his family and Jones says once you set the structure in the class, you can have fun with the examples, "Number one goal is to learn, learn the math, but for them to enjoy it as well, that's a plus."