Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: Mathematics
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Mathematics
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Fifth year or post-baccalaureate Noyce scholar
Name of Noyce institution:
Urban Teacher Education Program
Current academic or teaching status:
School and school district:
Benito Juarez Community Academy, CPS
I lived in New Jersey until I was 18. I went to a public elementary school K-3, then a recently chartered school 4-8, and I went to Princeton High School. I graduated with high honors in June 2006.
I moved to Chicago to pursue a B.S. in mathematics at the University of Chicago. I completed my honors degree June 2010. During my last undergraduate year I also enrolled in ChicagoUTEP, and I plan to be a secondary school mathematics teacher in CPS.
Why do you want to teach:
Primarily, I teach because I enjoy the challenge of taking all the math concepts I know and presenting them in many different ways to less experienced students. To be able to teach a solid foundation and appreciation of mathematics for students with several different learning curves is a long-term goal.
I chose to be a secondary school math teacher because I want to prepare students for college and future careers. So many more career paths open for students once they acquire math skills in their toolbox. As our economy moves steadily away from a manufacturing economy to a services/information-based economy, students will need the problem solving skills and math intuition to succeed.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
At the moment, I am a student teacher in a predominantly Hispanic public high school. I teach a class of advanced algebra to juniors.
A few students struggle with the material, and I learned that it’s partly because they had an awful algebra teacher their freshman year. They began with blank pre-assessments and missed homework, but with some dedicated one-on-one tutoring and a simple honest belief that the kids are smart, we (I work as a team with another Noyce Scholar and an experienced teacher) were able to bring a few students away from a failing grade and hopefully on track for the school year.
It’s memorable because it brings up to important facets of education. Especially with math, education is cumulative, so even one bad teacher can produce years of a negative attitude towards math. However, it is also possible to get back on the right track, with hard work from both the student and the teacher.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
Even as Robert Noyce became a very successful entrepreneur and CEO, he never forgot that he started as a young man with a passion for science and a can-do attitude.
As today’s economy becomes more high-tech, and a manufacturing economy gives way to a service economy, I believe that students more than ever needs the high order skills and positive attitude to solve the ever more complex problems that will arise in the future.
Noyce believed that from primary to graduate school, education shouldn’t just be for the privileged classes, and I hope to carry on that vision in Chicago.