Teaching at Penn
I won’t be teaching nor assisting with any courses at Penn this semester, since I’ll be on the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship for the 2021-2022 academic year. Please feel free to send me an email if you are interested in math or have questions about academia in general. I am happy to share my thoughts and experiences!
A group of us in the Penn math department have partnered with Princeton’s Prison Teaching Initiative (PTI) program to offer college-accredited courses to incarcerated students in New Jersey. I’ve been part of the teaching team for the following classes:
- MATH-015: Beginning Mathematics at the South Woods State Prison (Spring 2022)
- MATH-015: Beginning Mathematics at the Garden State Youth Correctional Facility (Fall 2021)
I believe teaching is an integral part of being an academic and a mathematician. As an educator, I strive to make mathematics accessible and enjoyable for everyone, particularly groups that have been historically excluded from the field. I’m dedicated to creating an inclusive, diverse mathematical community. To paraphrase this post by the AMS blog Inclusion/Exclusion, we must work towards an environment in which any person who wants to be a mathematician, can. We must work against the aspects of academia and STEM that sustain an oppressive system.
From my own experiences, I know it can be easy to feel like you are the only one in class who doesn’t get it. But often this isn’t true, and there are lots of people who feel just as stuck as you do. Plus, “not getting it” is an important part of the learning process! There is more than one way to be good at math. The benefit of struggling is that you learn what to do when you’re stuck, you learn how to be patient with yourself, and you learn how to have compassion for others who are struggling too.
There are lots of great resources online, and lots of people who have said things better than I ever could. Here are some I like:
- x+y: a mathematicians manifesto for rethinking gender video by Eugenia Cheng. “We need to disassociate character from gender, and when we’ve done that, we can think more clearly about which traits to value, in anyone, of any gender.”
- So, you think you’re bad at math? video by Courtney Gibbons. “Being good at math is being good at being stuck…and thinking ‘okay, what’s the next step?'”