Teaching Certificate 2005
School of Education
February 1, 2010
“My background in mathematics has been invaluable.”
Martha Barrett is an alumnus of the UC Irvine Teacher Credential Program. Her path to teaching has covered many continents and many schools. Martha was raised overseas and attended international schools in Morocco, Venezuela, Panama, the Philippines, and Spain while her father worked for the Foreign Service. After earning a B.S. in Mathematics at Brigham Young University, Martha worked as a management consultant for Bain and Company in Boston, as a financial aid officer for Columbia University in New York, and as a mother raising two sons in Irvine. In each of these jobs, her background in mathematics was invaluable. While Martha had always had a passion for mathematics and first-hand experience with its practical usefulness, her interest in teaching grew while spending time in classrooms in the Irvine Unified School District as a parent volunteer and as PTA president at Turtle Rock Elementary School. Martha returned to school to learn the art of teaching in 2004. She got her single-subject teaching credential in mathematics in 2005.
While she learned something from each of her classes at UC Irvine, Martha most enjoyed her methods class, which focused on how to take a subject and write lesson plans that communicate the subject to one’s students as effectively as possible. Not only was this class interesting, it was extraordinarily useful. The methods Martha learned in this class have become second-nature to her as she plans the lessons for the three different classes she is currently teaching.
While at UC Irvine, Martha did her student teaching at Southlake Middle School in Irvine. This provided her first direct experience with teaching middle school students mathematics. When she received her teaching credential, Martha was hired at Southlake to teach mathematics. In 2007, during her second year at Southlake, Martha was selected by the Irvine Unified School District as one of four Teachers of Promise, an award designed to recognize teachers who are making a good start to their teaching careers. She graciously comments:
I think that I had an unfair advantage because I was older (and had already raised two teenaged boys).
Martha was just selected as the Southlake Middle School Teacher of the Year for 2009-2010. Her favorite thing about teaching mathematics to middle school students is seeing a student get excited when she suddenly understands something new about how math works. In the middle of grading quizzes at 11:30 in the evening Martha will sometimes exclaim, “They get it! Finally.”