I like to watch the personal growth that comes with learning mathematics. I like to get the students to see math as a personal challenge, letting them take charge of their own learning. I am always sure to explain why we do something and why we do it the way we do. As you and I know, it is essential to be patient and encouraging at all times.
I received my PhD in math in 1997 at the University of Illinois at Chicago, specializing in “knot theory”, the study of curves in 3-dimensional space and a branch of the subject known as “topology”. Topology takes its roots in the calculus concepts of “limits” and “continuity”. I have a deep interest in elementary, high school and college freshman math and how to help students understand and excel at it, for example the distributive law using rectangles and the formula for kinetic energy. I like to teach the principle of substitution as “erase-and-replace”.
I have taught classrooms of students for some 6 years but I have found I prefer one-on-one. I have had success taking a very positive upbeat attitude with my students. I have found it helpful to probe my students’ cognitive picture and incorporate their own ideas into the solution of exercises. Sometimes just smiling makes a big difference. I am a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM).
I have been reciting older (years 1300-1900) poetry to senior citizens and general audiences for the past 13 years now, and dream of finding some profound connection between math and that subject. I also help with senior citizens, in particular assisting them to weekly mass at a local nursing home.