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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mathography VII

Another in series from my students. This one in particular fascinated me because this person is an immigrant from the ex-Soviet Union, good but not perfect English, who blew our class away the other night by her proofs for the formula to find area of a triangle. A failure she is not.

I THINK, THEREFORE, I AM ( In Latin, "COGITO, ERGO SUM.") by Rene Descartes.

But what then am I? A thing that thinks. What is that? A thing that doubts, understands, affirms, denies...(Descartes)

Evoking my memories of the early elementary school years, I clearly see myself as a failure. Intimidated to ask questions, ashamed not to understand the material, and being scoffed for getting bad grades are all what I recall in elementary school, until I met one teacher who made a difference in my life. It was a math teacher in the after-school program, who believed in me. I stayed after school as late as possible to get all my questions answered and all material understood. Coming home, I was helped by my father and my neighbor to do some extra work. Later, math became a favorite subject for me. In a high school, I became more confident in expressing myself as an independent thinker: I utilized the deductive and inductive methods of reasoning in solving more complex math problems, logic, and competed with the students in math olympiads.

When I came in the USA, my first goal was learning English. Then I got enrolled in a junior college. I completed all algebra courses. I liked all my teachers, especially Prof. Moss who had an unusual method of teaching: the problems and answers were given to students to solve and learn and the exams were long and challenging. In the San Francisco State University, I completed only geometry in the middle school course,

Working for the elementary school district gives me a lot of experience and ideas of how to teach various subjects. I am planning on volunteering in one of the middle schools to earn 40 hours of experience to get into the single subject credential program. I see myself as a teacher who will accept the idea that there is no student is a failure: all students have potential. I will create group of math scientists who will research on famous mathematicians and their theories. So they will be motivated and inspired to learn, explore,and develop more ideas and theories.

My students will compete with each other to get ready for the challenges awaiting for them. I will promote self-confidence in students, honor their desire and motivation to attain knowledge, and initiate student tutoring program. Learning math will significantly determine their future career and impact their lives.

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