Turning Life Calculus into Life Algebra…

Monthly Archives: September 2012

I totally missed the Math Blogger Initiation Blog time from last week, so I’m making up for it today!

I’ve always assigned a “Math Autobiography” to my Geometry students and I’ve really enjoyed reading them. But I’ve never written about myself! So here’s my (long) story.

I wasn’t always into math. I remember being good at math when I was younger, but I had always enjoyed other subjects (especially art and science) more. Then I got to high school. My teachers encouraged me to take more advanced classes, and I took a summer school course to get ahead. I made it to AP Calc my senior year, and I liked it, but I was still enjoying some other classes more (especially Independent Study Advanced Foods — I got to cook all period!). So I was very surprised when my teachers nominated me for a local math award. I don’t think I had ever realized how good I was at math until then!

Alas, I went onto college as a Biology/Pre-Med major. As part of my degree, I was required to take Calculus. I had passed the AP exam, so I went into Calc II the second semester of my freshman year. My professor, Dr. L., was amazing! She explained everything so well and really got me excited about math. I remember I was enjoying my Calculus class far more than my Biology & Chem classes. That’s when it hit me: I should become a math major! I had never known anyone that went into math, and I didn’t know what anyone would do with a math degree. But I decided to take the plunge! I asked Dr. L. to be my adviser, and we talked about my options. I decided I would take some education classes along with my math classes…

And that didn’t work out so well. It may just have been the prof I had, but that first education course seemed too “fluffy” for me. I decided I would be a pure math major and drop the education degree. Since my school was very small, with not many math majors, I took some independent study courses with my professors. That one-on-one time really made me even more interested in math. After going to a summer REU, I decided I would pursue a further degree in math, so on I went to grad school!

I had an assistantship, and as part of that I was required to teach. We didn’t have any training — I was basically handed a book and told to teach. Needless to say, I was scared out of my mind that first day! I first taught Finite Math, then two levels of Math for Elementary Ed. Majors. While I was teaching the elementary ed. majors, I really fell in love with teaching. I had students who had been scared of math all of their life, and they were the ones who would be teaching children! I really wanted to bring these students around so that they would (hopefully) not pass on this fear to their students. I was putting a lot more effort into teaching than my own studies, and I was enjoying it a lot more! So, of course, I decided I would try to pursue teaching full time.

My friend had told me about an opening at the charter high school where she was teaching. I wasn’t sure about teaching high school, but I thought I would give it a shot. I was lucky that I got the job, especially because I didn’t have an education degree. I had originally thought that I would teach high school for a little while, and then go back to teaching at the college level. But I quickly realized that teaching high school was a perfect fit! I’m now teaching my 5th year at the same school, and I couldn’t be happier. I get to teach a wide range of students and courses, and I have the most supportive colleagues I could imagine. My love for math has only grown since I started teaching, and I hope I can continue for a long, long time.