What do you hope students take from your classes?
I hope that my students notice and recognize the mathematics in their lives. There are many aspects of life that have a mathematical aspects but are not recognized as related to the mathematics learned in school because it is just seen as life. In my classes, I make an effort to go outside the curriculum to help my students see the mathematics in their lives and I hope they will continue to see it in their future. Everyone uses the mathematics that are pertinent to their life — whether that is the geometry of design, the logic of an argument, the arithmetic of accounting, the scheduling of a long-term project or the finances of the family. I also hope that students see the connections and similarities between seemingly disparate mathematical concepts. Algebra and Geometry are not different subjects, just different emphases. For those students who want to pursue a STEM field, I want them to be confident but also to understand that the speed at which you learn something is not a measure of success. I want them to have the tenacity and grit to stick with it and to ask questions when something isn’t easily understood.
Describe something interesting about your experience of being a teacher at Immaculate Heart.
Of the teaching faculty, I have been at IHHS the longest. I arrived in January 1990 to substitute for a teacher going on maternity leave and then stayed because another math teacher was leaving at the end of the year. If you want to know about the changes at Immaculate Heart over the past 30+ years, look no further. I was here before the Media Building classrooms were enclosed; when we had something called SST (student structured time), which was a precursor to Activity Period; and before the Science Building was finished. I have been here for three principals and have been in U6 and had the same parking spot in the garage the entire time.
What do you love about the all-girls environment at Immaculate Heart?
Because I teach a subject that has a PR problem when it comes to girls and some adults, it is nice to not have to deal with the gender dynamics of teaching math in a co-ed classroom. (I did teach in public school for three years before coming to Immaculate Heart.) While there is still the “I am not good at math,” “I hate math,” “I can do it all except the word problems” thoughts out there, I have a lot to say about that if anyone wants to talk. I think the research is settled: girls do better with girls.