CalTeach B.A. in Mathematics, 2009; Teacher Credential 2010
School of Education
September 1, 2008
Senior Danielle Moncure Pursues Passion for Studying and Teaching Mathematics
Ever since I was a little girl I’ve always known I wanted to be a teacher. While the other kids in my neighborhood were out riding bicycles or going swimming, I was content creating math worksheets for my younger sister and playing teacher. After attending Far Horizons Montessori School, Jaguar Intermediate School, Bolsa Grande High School, and El Toro High School, my enthusiasm for teaching became stronger. While attending these schools, I studied hard and did my homework, but most importantly I paid attention to the differences between the effective and non-effective teachers I had. I focused on their classroom management skills, how they dealt with unexpected situations, and how the effective teachers were truly passionate about their jobs. My passion was mathematics; and as I began my studies at UC Irvine, I set out to change the negative perceptions people held about mathematics, and the belief that “math isn’t for everyone.”
During my first year at UCI, I was a little overwhelmed by the size of the campus, and I felt confusion over what classes I should take in order to pursue my dream of becoming a high school math teacher. Luckily, I discovered the Cal Teach Program on campus, and everything quickly came into focus. The program staff explained the best path for me, which included changing my major to a specialization for high school math teaching, completing an education minor, and taking courses that would allow me to waive the CSET exam. Even though all of these changes were incredibly important to me, it was being part of the first group ever to complete the Cal Teach seminars at UCI that truly impacted my college experience. By taking the three seminar courses, I was able to experience the teaching field by working with mentor teachers in the elementary, middle, and high school levels. For three quarters, I observed these incredible mentor teachers explaining mathematical concepts to their students in ways I never knew existed. I realized teaching math consisted of more than just lecturing; and, after teaching my own lessons to all the students I worked with and seeing their enthusiastic reactions, I knew I could finally change all the negative perceptions about mathematics.
Another reason why the Cal Teach program has been so crucial to my college experience is that it has provided me with numerous occasions to network with other students on campus who also want to pursue a career in education. I’ve also had the opportunity to get to know educators and staff members involved in the Cal Teach initiative. Now, many of these students and staff are my friends, and I am proud to say that I am now a staff member for the Cal Teach program! I will be the Cal Teach peer advisor for the 2008-2009 academic year, and am looking forward to helping students who want to pursue a career in education. I am also excited to see the expansion of Cal Teach on campus throughout my senior year. After completing my undergraduate studies, I hope to join the UCI Intern Credential Program in order to complete my training to become a high school math teacher.