Shelley Godett: The Sine of an Amazing Teacher


Julia Kim

Continuing her teaching in Office Hours, Shelley Godett explains the answers to homework questions with sophomore Joshua Kwon.

Julia Kim, A&E Editor and Co-Business Manager

From loving juicy pens to singing trigonometry songs, it is evident that math department chair Shelley Godett is passionate for teaching. Her passion has been rightfully awarded with the Excellence in Teaching award for the 2017-2018 school year. Principal John Pehrson stated that staff members were encouraged to nominate a teacher, and thus voted Godett for the award.

“I started teaching initially because I had such a great experience in college with a professor,” Godett said. “He just made math so much fun; he was nice, and he explained everything well. I thought to myself, ‘Why did I not have this amazing experience in high school? Why isn’t there a teacher like this in high school?’ and that got me into teaching.”

Godett has dedicated herself to teaching students in all levels of math for almost 20 years. Her teaching does not stop after school; in fact, Godett tutors numerous students outside of school, continuing to spread her passions as a teacher.

“She’s such a good teacher, and every day she just makes math so fun. She basically makes sure every one of us understands what she is teaching us and asks us if she needs to slow down,” freshman Joanna Fan said. “She’s always prepared to teach us with her full enthusiasm.”

As department chair, Godett has created a system that is different from her past schools, wanting to emphasize the value of truly understanding a concept rather than cramming for the test grade. Working with five other math teachers, Godett implemented a unique system of test re-takes, allowing students to make-up one test of their choice per semester.

“She’s been a part of our planning team and now a part of our leadership team, and so she’s taken a major role in all of the decisions we have made here on-site,” principal John Pehrson said. “Whether it be the foundational principles we’ve come up with or our vision mission values and goals, Mrs. Godett has really played an active and major role in developing Portola.”

As both a teacher and a leader, Godett strives to continue to interact with her students while collaborating with her staff to create an environment that will motivate students to continue trying their best.

“I still maintain that belief that every kid deserves a good teacher,” Godett said. “You’ve got to love kids, and you’ve got to be flexible and make the experience fun for them as much as you can and still cover the content, which is not easy to do. But once you get kids engaged and having fun, they kind of forget that they’re working.”