Mathematics has always been a true passion of my heart. Even my mother jokingly asserts that I was blessed with the “high mathematics acumen gene”, thanks to my father’s intellect. As a teen and young adult, I recognized my intense love for math and had many powerful mentors along the way. Today is World Maths Day — a fitting time to write this and pay tribute to a great teacher.
I vividly recall my high school mathematics teacher and fellow church congregant, the late Mrs. Claudia M. Greene, being a personal exemplar of how to serve others. She single-handedly recruited me for college, drove me to and from summer college freshman orientation, sent care packages and checked in on me during my matriculation at Jackson State University (MS, USA), and until her last breath in January 2017 was a shining example of community and Christian service. I followed her professional pathway as a teacher of mathematics.
Excelling in the abilities to teach with clarity and simplicity while simultaneously heightening learners’ self-efficacy, my evolution beyond the role of classroom teacher has been deliberate, methodical and fulfilling. I wear several hats in education, including serving as an instructional coach, private tutor, mathematics specialist, facilitator of professional learning, and international mathematics consultant. Through volunteering, I find and even create opportunities to offer support to others. This support includes behind-the-scenes working at conferences and special events, financial volunteerism in anonymity to deserving beneficiaries, and even serving others by distributing food and toiletries, or providing tutorial service.
Nature and mathematics are so interconnected, it’s no wonder that my favorite pastimes lead me outdoors. I recently enjoyed an afternoon floating in the Dead Sea, sky-dined with friends while hoisted 50 meters in the air, and even competed in a Spartan Race! On the weekends you can easily find me trekking up a local mountain, curled up to a good book, strolling along a beach, or simply traveling to explore other cultures.
Working in education affords several extended breaks, especially during the summer months. The privilege of joining this summer’s LRTT Ghana Fellowship provides me with the opportunity to meld my passions for travel, culture, learning, and service. I look forward to learning and growing both professionally and personally from the Ghanaian people and my fellow LRTT team. Just as importantly, I’m setting a “Personal Goal of Impact” — that the nuggets of knowledge and wisdom we exchange with the Ghanaian education community make an indelible impact on our teaching and learning practices for many years to come.
Jacqueline is an American teacher living in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa region) and teaching mathematics to middle grades learners whose first language is Arabic. She is also a mathematics consultant throughout MENA. One of the highlights of her consulting work is recently meeting Dr. Fayez Mohammed Al-Saudi, Jordan’s former Minister of Education. Follow her on Twitter @GlobalMath411.
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