North Penn Teacher uses Crafts to Teach Math and Altruism
Kathleen Matthews shows the applications of crafting arts both in and out of the classroom.
North Penn School District math teacher Kathleen Matthews uses her crafting skills to both help inspire her students and advance good causes.
As the owner of Tess’ Totes, Matthews recently showcased her custom handmade purses and craftwork at the 2013 Upper Dublin Craft Fair. According to Matthews, proceeds from Tess’ Totes go to charitable organizations. Among the organizations that Tess’ Totes sales support are Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the American Heart Association.
However, to Matthews, perhaps the most important support her craft business supports isn’t an organization, but a very special person.
“I was sewing since I was six,” Matthews said. “My mom taught me how to sew.”
Matthew’s mother, Tess, had a stroke three years ago. Matthews said in order to help raise funds for her mother’s rehabilitation, as well as for part of the rehabilitation process itself, she began to sell hand-stitched and designed fabric bags.
She said she sees how helping to create the bags also gives her mother the opportunity to use her hands and mind.
“You use both sides of the brain when you do that,” Matthews said.
And she would know: Matthews has taught math for the last 13 years in the North Penn School District. She is at Penndale Middle School at present.
Prior to selling her crafts, she used them in the classroom to demonstrate geometric math principles.
“I was doing this for fun and for teaching,” Matthews said.
Matthews, who has attended all three years of the Upper Dublin Craft Fair, feels that she has found kindred spirits with her fellow crafters.
“We got to places and say, ‘Oh, I remember you from that show,’” Matthews said. “We’re not a crafting community, but a family community.”