BS Mathematics, 1990
MEd Mathematics Education, 1993
The Ohio State University
Dublin City Schools
When I was a senior in college, I was unsure about how to use my math degree after graduation. I considered a number of typical career fields, including law school, graduate school in history and graduate school in several math-related fields. I opted for graduate study in math, mostly because the only thing I knew for sure was that I enjoy math.
While in graduate school the first time around, I got to teach college courses and I volunteered as a tutor in secondary schools. I retained my love of math, but I also discovered a love for teaching it and began to recognize that teaching was hard work. After some time off, I decided to pursue secondary teaching certification and some formal training in math education.
I completed teacher certification and received a Master's degree in math education. Then I began to teach in the Cincinnati Public Schools. I taught in a traditional middle school, a magnet middle school with an alternative curriculum and at a high school with a classically oriented curriculum. I now teach at Coffman High School in the Dublin City Schools. All these positions have given me a wealth of opportunities to use many different parts of my mathematics background.
I have become convinced by both experience and research that the key to good instruction in mathematics is to make students engage with the material. If you sit back and wait for them to become enthusiastic, most students will decline the opportunity. Appropriate assignments, which challenge the students to stretch themselves without being too daunting, are essential to good teaching. One of the things I love about teaching AP Statistics is the ease with which I can show students how the techniques we use can be applied in the real world. Using this fact, it is easier to construct assignments and labs that challenge students at an appropriate level. As a teacher, it is important for me to model my enthusiasm for math. Students will be more enthusiastic about learning if their teacher is enthusiastic.
Another thing I have been fortunate to discover in my career, is how much easier it is to be enthusiastic about math when surrounded by colleagues who are also enthusiastic. My current department has many talented teachers who love math. This makes coming to work each day pleasant, and helps keep all of us on top of our games. We frequently ask and discuss interesting mathematical questions, and this helps me to keep my skills sharp. I try to seek out opportunities to use my math skills and learn new skills. Sometimes this involves reading, but lately I have used my math skills to analyze the use and misuse of statistics in education. Opportunities to use my skills outside the classroom do help me perform well inside the classroom, but mostly I seek these opportunities for fun. Two decades later I am stuck with the fact that I enjoy math.