Irene Gaither

Irene has taught math for SMCC since her first adjunct position in 1990.  She started at the Guadalupe Center when classes were still being held in the Mercado at Guadalupe and Priest.  She said, “It was like having class in the mall.”

Irene Gaither, 2019

Your First Day: On her first day she realized that there were no calculators for the students to use.  “Eventually somebody got a set of used ones from Rio Salado Community College.  They weren’t new, but they worked fine.”

Your Best Day:  Irene worked as an adjunct for ten years, and that worked well for her family in the 1990s when her son was small. But as he grew older she was ready to work full time.  “My best day was when I was hired as an RFP faculty member.”

Your Legacy:  Irene hopes that she will be remembered for encouraging students to adopt a “growth mind-set” about math.  “One of my students told me that his 4th grade teacher told him he would never be good at math. He believed that and was convinced he would fail my class.” Irene helped him to put that experience in the past, and to think of himself differently – as someone who could learn math. He passed the class and went on to Arizona State University. Irene has helped many students overcome previous bad experiences with math, and their own.  She knows the college has played an important role in helping the community view math and their own math abilities more positively. She hopes that continues into the future.

NarratorIrene Gaither
Place of Origin
Place of ResidencePhoenix, Arizona
OccupationMath Professor at South Mountain Community College
Years Active in South Phoenix
Recording Duration15:54
DateAugust 27, 2019
LocationSouth Mountain Community Library
Interviewed ByFaculty Researchers: Liz Warren & Summer Cherland
Story Written ByFaculty Researchers: Liz Warren & Summer Cherland