This summer marks our second year as a grant recipient from Math for America, which has helped us bring four undergraduate students to teach at Brown Summer High School. Our four BSHS math teachers are students at partner colleges in the Consortium for Excellence in Teacher Education (CETE). We received over twenty applicants for our four math teaching positions this summer. Our math cohort this year hails from Dartmouth College, Gettysburg College, Tufts University, and Wellesley College. Like our MATs, summer math students take discipline-specific methods classes with adjunct professor Ellie Goldberg and summer mentor Erin Escher, recently named the Rhode Island Presidential Awardee for Excellence in Science Teaching.
As the summer comes to a close, our math cohort reflects on their teaching experience at Brown Summer High School. We’re thankful they were able to join us and hope to continue our summer math program at Brown Summer High School!
Darcie: Before I started this program, I thought I wanted to be a teacher, but didn’t have any experience in a classroom or know much about what being a teacher really involves. There is so much about teaching that I didn’t know – how to plan a lesson, manage a classroom, or engage a student who isn’t engaged. I hadn’t been faced with any of this until I was in a real classroom with real students, but having this experience with the support of my mentors and fellow math teachers has really given me the chance to explore teaching as a career.
Tom: I have really enjoyed the collegiate atmosphere and the deep intellectual respect that this program holds for the teaching profession in general and the challenges of teaching mathematics in particular. I feel like I have been taken seriously as a mathematical thinker as well as a math teacher this summer, and that is an experience that I don’t know if I could have gotten in an equal measure anywhere else. This experience has helped me to affirm my love of teaching, and I hope it will serve as a stepping stone towards the beginning of a teaching career for me.
Melissa: I always knew teachers had an impact on people’s lives but did not understand the vast depth of this connection until I had the opportunity to enter the classroom at BSHS. I was not only able to give students tools to develop and expand their mathematical thinking but also give them tools to incorporate into their daily lives. My co-teacher and I took students who said they hated math and showed them they have what it takes to be a true mathematician. People have told me teaching is hard yet rewarding, and they could not be more correct. Many of these students came into the program with a fixed mindset (e.g. “I cannot do math because I am bad at it”) but are leaving with a growth mindset. I am leaving this program with new connections, unforgettable experiences, and a clearer view of what I want to do in the future.
Annie Laurie: From the first few days (spent working on math problems with my colleagues) to this last week (leading our students through their final projects), everyday has been packed with learning moments. We have been incredibly supported throughout the process; having an experienced mentor teacher in our classroom every day has ensured that no “teachable moment” is passed by. We are constantly being pushed to take our teaching to the next level, whether in terms of classroom management, setting clear objectives, or using effective questioning. While no day has ever been perfect – this summer has made me appreciate the complexity of teaching – seeing our classroom come together has been incredible.
Learn more about this year’s BSHS math program through our CETE partner website.