“Spreading the Love”

How Martineau Became Students’ Favorite Teacher

May 13, 2022



Every high school has one teacher that everyone knows and loves, at DeForest Area High School (DAHS), that staff member is Dannelle Martineau. Ms. Martineau is a math teacher at DAHS. She is 25 years old and the youngest teacher at DAHS. Her kind and approachable nature have garnered her a position of trust amongst the students. Ms. Martineau believes that students gravitate towards her because “I’m close in age to you guys and can easily relate to your situation and I try to be judgment-free and I always have time to talk.” When pressed further as to why students are drawn to her, she said she believes it is because of her willingness to listen.

Martineau has cultivated a position of trust with her students–a position that she says she loves:“I love it. It’s the number one reason I like being a teacher. I feel that it allows me to connect and help students not only with math or school, but also with personal problems and to build confidence in themselves.” When asked why she thinks students place so much trust in her, she replies “I have been told by students that they feel that I’m the only teacher that cares and can empathize with students and their situations” 

Unlike many young teachers, Ms. Martineau embraces her age and proximity to her students; in addition to serving as a math teacher , she is also the DJ at most school events because of how close she is in age to her students. She has DJ’ed the last few school dances; to rave reviews.

When asked if it was these interactions that drove her to make the decision to become a teacher she said “absolutely” And that “I have always wanted to be a teacher. I wanted to make the biggest impact and I noticed a lack of love in high school, specifically and I chose math because that’s the class students usually hate the most, that and english”

I then asked her why she would come to DeForest, specifically if she had graduated from here or how she had come across a job listing and why she chose DeForest specifically, she told me that “I wanted a job specifically in the Madison area and I applied to many schools but I liked the laid back nature of DeForest compared to other schools like Mount Horeb enjoyed the atmosphere of DeForest compared to other larger schools” so even when given the opportunity to choose an easier job at a larger school she still decided to take on a job that she knew was largely disliked and hated by students. Because she wanted to help students as much as she could and to spread love to those who she felt needed the most.

When I asked Martineau if she felt  that she had been able to make an impact on students at DeForest and if she thought that her position of trust has helped her be able to reach out to students to help them to the best of her ability she said that “If I didn’t have as much trust with the students most of them wouldn’t do their work or pay attention in class and they wouldn’t come to me for help and allow me to help them and I feel I can help them more because they trust me.”

This was a very touching and heartwarming thing to hear from a teacher. As a student who agrees that there is a strong lack of love or understanding in high school. It often feels like all the teachers treat school as a dump information and get out kind of thing rather than true learning. Having someone like Ms. Martineau, who does care about students and has an understanding of why we are upset or are feeling the way we are and is willing to sit down and have a heartfelt one on one conversion is a very comforting and reassuring feeling. 

But before I concluded the interview I had one last important question I wanted to ask Martineau I wanted to know, If she could send out a message to the whole school that she knew everyone would hear and have everyone’s undivided attention for 30 seconds what would she want to tell all of the students she told me the message she could send would be ”No matter what people say about you, or what they think about you, you are allowed to be the person you want to be.”

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