Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: Physics
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Mathematics, grades 9-12
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Noyce Teaching Fellow
Name of Noyce institution:
Math for America Los Angeles
Current academic or teaching status:
School and school district:
LAUSD, Ramon Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts
I grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii where I attended public school for my K-12 education. I was very fortunate to be able to attend Occidental College in Los Angeles for my undergraduate education. I really enjoy watching people figure things out.
Why do you want to teach:
My entire family grew up going through the public education system. While taking classes on equity and social justice in college, I learned about how inequities in education (specifically mathematics education) lead to larger gaps in access in society. I thought back to my high school classmates and my family. I thought about people I know who are highly intelligent but did not receive the support they needed in the cookie cutter educational system we live in. There are many people I know who I believe could be doing much more than they currently are if they had been exposed to opportunities outside of what was immediately around them. This is the motivation behind why I am interested in education. The reason why I love and want to teach is because I love to watch the ‘aha’ moment occur. I enjoy seeing connections being made and students working together.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
Two years ago I taught a large class of students repeating algebra 1. This course was particularly difficult to teach because many students in repeat algebra 1 have failed it two or more times. The level of motivation was low. At the beginning of the year, every day was a battle. It was difficult to manage all of the personalities, and it took a lot of energy to plan lessons that would engage students who had checked out of learning math. With a lot of patience and getting to know who the students were on a personal level, the class slowly began to come together. The students began taking risks. They would volunteer to do problems on the board, other students would volunteer to explain the work other students had done. The class began to feel more confident in their ability and many students who had never passed a math class before received passing marks. These students still come back to see me today. This experience is memorable for me because it makes me feel proud of every student I had in that class.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
The Noyce program I am involved with (Math for America Los Angeles) has given me terrific support. I have been able to attend state and national conferences that other teachers in my situation are not able to attend. I am also given access to a support network that is unparallelled. I know that if I need help with a lesson or a situation that happened in class, I can email or call anyone involved with the fellowship for help.