Mathematics Teacher and Director of Innovation & Educational Technology, Bullis School
And - Author and blogger, techiemusings
I try to help my students understand the ideal student is one who is willing to take a risk, knows how to process feedback, and understands that making mistakes is part of the learning process.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
I have the best job in the world. First, I am a math teacher. In addition to teaching the students in my classroom, I have had the chance to reach thousands of students through my YouTube channel, where I post Algebra 2 and AP Calculus videos.
I am also the Director of Innovation & Educational Technology and get to work closely with teachers at my school to inspire teachers to leverage technology to gain a snapshot of individual student needs, differentiate and personalize instruction, and create an environment where learning takes center stage. By embracing edtech tools in the classroom, teachers can create an environment where all students can find their voice, build confidence, and express their creativity.
Finally, I am an author. I wrote Tech with Heart: Leveraging Technology to Empower Student Voice, Ease Anxiety, & Create Compassionate Classrooms. My goal in writing this book is to ignite a much larger conversation around empowering all students - whether they are quiet or more vocal, whether they are quick to respond or more methodical - an equal chance to contribute to class discussion.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?
I became a teacher to help students get a peek into the beauty I see in mathematics— to share my passion and excitement for the subject. I owe my love of the subject to my mom. She is a math teacher and gave me a solid foundation and a passion for numbers.
WHAT DO YOU LOOK AT & THINK, "I WISH YOUNGER ME WOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS WAS POSSIBLE?"
Publishing a book. If you told my younger self I would author a book one day, I would not have believed it. But I had a story to tell, and I became bold enough to get it all out on paper. And now I have a chance to influence so many through the story I have to tell.
WHY DO YOU LOVE WORKING IN STEM?
There is nothing I enjoy more than helping my students gain confidence in their math skills. Math is a subject that can feel abstract at times — but that’s the fun and joy in it. It is my role to guide my students through this discovery process and to help reduce their fear of being “wrong.” Math isn’t about a right answer, even though that is a common misconception that many students have coming into the math classroom. It’s about freely playing with the numbers and discovering how they fit together.
BEST ADVICE FOR NEXT GENERATION?
Let go of needing to be “perfect” all the time. As a teen myself, my desire to be the “perfect student” led to me chasing an unattainable goal, an unhealthy ideal. As a teacher, I try to help my students understand that the ideal student is one who is willing to take a risk, knows how to process feedback, and understands that making mistakes is part of the learning process. The need for a perfect score 100% of the time will limit a student from exploring opportunities and discovering her full potential. Girls, in particular, are so driven to achieve and please; I hope that I can help my students redefine this “perfect” ideal so that they are free to pursue all the options available to them and not only those they “think” they can score a consistent “A” in.
INSPO / FUN FACT
My favorite app is Overdrive. I love reading. Or, more accurately, I love listening to books. With Overdrive, I can check out so many audiobooks from my library. I usually listen at 1.5x or 1.75x speed, so I get through a lot of books. I am one of those people who comprehends best when I listen, so having access to so many audiobooks has been a dream for me.