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edu180atl: megan hayes-golding

Today I learned to say “quadratic function” and “solution” in Arabic and Nepali. This type of learning is fortunately pretty common where I work (Clarkston High near Stone Mountain). I’m so lucky to teach there because my students come from all over the world. They speak dozens of different languages. We don’t really have a single dominant language group.

I’m not going to lie—I know exactly how lucky I am to teach math to students learning English. I know it’s a little simpler than the task in front of my colleagues over in Language Arts or Social Studies (heck, even Science has a tough road). We get to work in a universal language most of the time (just don’t get me started on word problems that test obscure vocabulary like “toss a coin” rather than math reasoning).

The best part of teaching my students is when they show me a novel way to solve a problem that’s standard procedure in their home country. Students from Nepal, in particular, have shown me so much about algebraic operations.

I invite you to visit Clarkston sometime. Enjoy our many international restaurants and Triftown, the international grocery store at the heart of our town. Get a feel for the community I am lucky enough to serve daily.

Megan Hayes-Golding (@mgolding) teaches math and physics at Clarkston High in DeKalb County. The school is the only thing more diverse than her interests: she also coaches JV boys’ soccer & sponsors the Muslim Student Association. Megan blogs at http://kalamitykat.com.

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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Megan, I love reading about your teaching environment and your approach to teaching… it seems to me that, as a teacher, it could be easy to get locked in to the mindset of “this is how it’s done.” And, my lack of mathematical experience tempts me to the naive (and obviously incorrect) assumption that “there is one way to do math.” Your post has challenged me to think about several things: there is always more than one way to solve a problem (any problem!), the diversity within our classes and our communities enhances, enriches, and educates us all, the “easy” path to problem-solving avoids and interrupts the richness that comes from the complexities of acknowledging that our different perspectives and experiences to inform the journey. You have encouraged me to make an effort to not simply embrace diversity when I find it, but to actively seek it. Thank you for that.

    August 25, 2011
  2. bekah #

    I know how awesome it can feel when your students get good grades, since I am a student myself.

    August 30, 2011

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