Teacher in Focus: Martha Milam
by Celia Shortt
Martha Milam teaches chemistry and AP chemistry at East Coweta High School. She is also the STEM program coordinator. This year was her 10th teaching.
Why did you become a teacher?
I majored in chemistry and thought I would go into the corporate world. I taught as a grad student and realized I enjoyed interacting with the students and decided to go into teaching. My mother was also a chemist for Coca-Cola, and my dad was a public speaker. Putting those together was another part of me becoming a teacher.
What is your favorite part of teaching?
I really enjoy having fun with the students and a warm atmosphere. When students enjoy school, I think they learn better. I like the camaraderie of the classroom and enjoy being part of making the community a better place. I feel like I’ve been part of the positive changes in Coweta. My students and I also like to laugh a lot in our classes. It captures their attention, and I think it increases their learning process.
What do you do for fun when you’re not teaching?
I like to exercise, stay fit, and be healthy. I am working on an exciting book project with Mr. Don Whitehead, who was the first African-American radio news anchorman. Mr. Whitehead's career with WLAC Radio focused on increasing college enrollment of black students across the U.S. during the post-MLK years. His belief that "Education is the Key to the Future" steered the movement into a positive direction and relieved some of the anxiety of that tumultuous period. Mr. Whitehead crossed paths with people like Jackie Robinson and Louis Armstrong, but promoting education was his proudest accomplishment. I have seen people who are older than I am thank Mr. Whitehead for inspiring them to go to college. Seeing the impact that one person can have on many lives has been a great inspiration for my own career.
Do you have a family?
My husband and I have been married for 19 years. We have three children, two sons and one daughter.
If you were not a teacher, what would you be doing?
I think I would be working as a chemist in the corporate world.
What is the one thing you want your students to learn in your classes?
I want them to understand the impact that science has on their everyday lives.
What is your favorite movie?
What is your favorite book(s)?
Historical fiction and forensic crime novels, books by Kathy Reichs