It is my belief that the best way to generate enthusiasm for a subject is for teachers to openly display their own enthusiasm, and that certainly describes me when it comes to mathematics. While I have always displayed a strong proficiency in all fields of learning when growing up, it has always been math that has been my primary love. In school, I devoured every math course that was offered, and rapidly progressed as high as I possibly could in my secondary school education (which ended at Pre-Calculus).
I recognize that math is a critical component for a well-rounded education, especially among low-income students who are seeking a means to escape the typical limitations of their economic status. The economic future of the United States lies in the STEM fields, and a solid grounding in math will help those entering the workforce of the future find positions that will not only provide a sustainable income, but also will be emotionally satisfying.
It disheartens me whenever I hear a student complain that “math is too hard,” or else that they see no practical purpose in what they are learning. Some of the fault lies in how the curriculum is taught; traditional practices are no longer effective in reaching today’s student culture. Therefore, I prefer to engage the student in the subject, making it entertaining while not sacrificing content. Any skill requires practice and effort, and I am able able to explain to the student that math competency is like exercising any muscle, except this particular one is the “brain muscle.” Likewise, I show students the relevancy of what they are learning and how it applies to the world at large. Only then can math be seen as transcending the purely abstract becoming a valuable tool useful in every discipline.
While I had a rocky start in life upon leaving high school, and I have held a variety of jobs in assorted professions for the past 30 years, it is at this point in my life that I wish to help shape the minds of the next generation. I have been influenced by many a great teacher, and conversely, I have encountered some not-so-great teachers. I wish to become a great teacher that has a positive impact on students, enabling them to reach their full potential. Therefore, I returned to college, and completed my B.A. in Mathematics at the UW.
In the past 4 years, I have tutored at low-income schools throughout the Seattle area. My particular tutoring approach is focused on conceptual learning, as opposed to just procedural learning, as a thorough understanding will enable further advancement in mathematics with greater ease.
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