CalTeach BA in Mathematics
School of Education
June 1, 2011
“I want to help high school students transition from adolescents to adults.”
Growing up I did not think that I would go to college at all. It was never in my plans until one teacher told me about a program called Community College High School. I transferred to this high school my junior year and excelled. I loved the community college atmosphere, and from that point on I knew college was right for me, and it was clearly in my future.
Becoming a teacher was not in the original plan, but I came across the Center for Education Partnership when looking for a job through work-study. It was a job that originally consisted of being, in a sense, a counselor. The job title was Early Academic Outreach program (E.A.O.P.) student coordinator, which dragged me into various jobs as a teaching assistant in the Saturday Academy of Mathematics (S.A.M.) and GEAR Up.
I originally started as a chemistry major and later added a second major in mathematics at the end of my first year. My friend, Lyndsey Haapala, encouraged me throughout my first and second year to join the Cal Teach Program and Club, but I did not seek this wonderful opportunity until the end of my second year when I decided to become a single major in mathematics.
What made this change, one might ask? Well first off, I was doing research in chemistry with Professor Sergey Nizdorodov, and it did not fit my personality. I really like to interact with human beings rather than chemical reactions. Don’t get me wrong, I still love chemistry and I plan to get my credentials in math and chemistry at Vanguard University, Fall 2011-2012. My plans in chemistry were to be a researcher and professor some day, but observing various chemistry professors allowed me to realize it was not the career path for me.
Now the story of the day that made a change in my career path… One opportunity for students at a low-income high school in Compton, California, was a Saturday CAHSEE mathematics preparation class. This class enabled students to get help for passing the California High School Exit Examination known as CAHSEE. I was the only teaching assistant for this class. On one particular day in the CAHSEE class, both teachers decided not to show up. Luckily, the vice principal was there, but she was unfamiliar with CAHSEE math material, so I commandeered the math preparation class. During a short break from the math material, I decided to facilitate an open discussion about the students’ future dreams. As the students were sharing, one student baffled me. He jokingly indicated that he wanted to be a drug dealer, so after class I found an opportunity to talk to him about what his real aspirations were.
At this point looking back, I realize how different high school students are as opposed to middle school students, whom I worked with in S.A.M. High school students are on the verge of the “real” world, and I want to help these high school students transition from adolescents to adults. That day made me think of all the possibilities of becoming an inspirational mathematics high school teacher. Literally right after this event, I joined the Cal Teach Club (CTC) and became part of the Cal Teach Program, and I met some amazing wonderful aspiring math and science teachers, Khanh Tran, Amanda Terry, Michelle Allen, and many others where I felt like I fit right in! Thank you CTC!
In the near future, I plan to get my credentials in math and chemistry. After this journey, I plan to join the Peace Corps with my husband, Tyler McHogsett, whom I meet at UC Irvine in Math 13: Introduction to Abstract Mathematics. (Long story short, we were meant for each other thereafter… he’s my husband now; it will be a year on July 24, 2011!)
I am currently in Education 124: Multicultural Education in K-12 Schools, which I strongly encourage every person in the education industry to take. This class has really changed my perspective on teaching in a multicultural setting. I would really like to endorse myself in a culture different from the United States for a while before teaching full time in America, and I think the Peace Corps will allow me to do so.