Teaching Experiences

I have been teaching students mathematics for 13 years. It has been a wonderful adventure, and will doubtless continue to be so. I’ve taught in traditional public schools as well as charter schools in urban and suburban settings. Students I’ve taught have been from multi-generational US families to recent immigrants, to refugees. They’ve been from affluent families to students out on their own, living on the streets. The lessons learned from all students from all backgrounds has changed my view and approach of teaching the whole student, meeting not only their academic needs, but showing them respect and care. 

My resume/CV contains a brief descriptions of all the teaching I’ve done so far. The following is more detailed description of each experience.

My first year teaching was at Thomas Jefferson Junior High in Kearns, Utah. I worked with Miguel Garcia and taught Algebra 1, Pre-Algebra and Math 7. I had some great teachers to work with there and great students. I remember several of them, but one in particular stood out to me. He was a good kid who came from a rough home life. His goal was to really understand mathematics and be the first in his family to graduate from high school. A fist fight he was nearly involved in within my classroom quickly de-escalated as he remembered his goal was more important than whatever it was he nearly fought about. His determination to graduate, and stay focused on his goal was an inspiration to me. Also at TJJHS I discovered the world of math contests. I took students to the State Math Contest from TJJHS. In every school since then, I’ve tried my best to gather a team to take & compete. Teaching there ended as I was offered a job teaching at a charter school the next year.

Legacy Preparatory Academy was just opening it’s school in the fall of 2006. We didn’t even have our building ready to move into for the first few months. During that time, some of the school met at a local university’s satellite campus, while the rest of us met at a local community church. My “classroom” had plush, old carpet, a rotting bathroom attached to it and the whiteboard was from someone’s house, propped up with an easel. When we moved into our permanent building, we had already bonded dealing with our temporary school together. To say we appreciated our new facility would be an understatement. Legacy Preparatory had fantastic families and amazing fellow teachers. LPA’s charter was based on providing a better education by following a classical model. All students learned Latin. At LPA, I taught using Saxon Math and saw great improvement in student mental math abilities. I taught Math 5/4, 6/5, 8/7, Algebra 1/2, and Pre-calculus. I oversaw the creation of the yearbook and worked with some wonderful parents on that project.  I loved my time working there but after 3 years, I moved on to Syracuse Arts Academy.

Syracuse Arts Academy was based on learning through the arts. I integrated art into nearly every lesson and really pushed students to be their best self and better mathematicians. I taught Math 8, Algebra 1, and Math Lab. I also advised the student body officers and helped out with the yearbook as well. This meant I helped students organize school activities and enjoyed working with wonderful parents as well. After two years at SAA, I moved closer to family and changed schools.

West Jordan High School was a marvelous experience. High school students provided a fun difference in maturity compared with the age I had been teaching. Here I worked with MESA (Mathematics, Engineering & Science Achievement), taught Algebra 2, College Prep, Math Lab, Secondary Math 2, Secondary Math 3, and honors classes. This was an interesting time as we made an abrupt transition into teaching from the new Integrated Mathematics Core Standards and classes. As teachers, we read the standards and created a lot of our own material (assignments, assessments, guided notes, etc.) as publishing companies were not ready. While at WJHS, I was able to also participate on a state level at evaluating and writing items for the state standardized test, the SAGE. With that, I learned very thoroughly what is in the core, what goes into writing questions, and how deeply my students needed to understand each standard. After three years, I was offered a job I couldn’t resist: one with smaller class sizes and teacher aids.

Early Light Academy was one of the best places to teach in many ways. It had the perfect combination of incredibly supportive administration, cooperative coworkers, efficient systems, professional trust and respect, students that loved me and that I adored, and a beautiful campus. I taught Secondary Math 1, Secondary Math 2, Math Lab, Math 8, and AP Calculus AB/BC. Students at this school have said, “Math is my least favorite subject, but I love your class and I can actually kind of do math now.” The mathematics contest scene in this school was also impressive. We had students in 9th grade taking AP Calculus and when it came to the State Math Contest and other competitions, ranked among the highest in the state.

Wanting to be closer to my family, I moved to Michigan. I found an inner-city school in Detroit, knowing it would be challenging but rewarding. I began the school year optimistic only to discover more challenges than rewards and resigned my self to it not being the right fit for me. I substitute taught for a few months kindergarten, primary school, high school and one week-long substituting job turned into a 6 week substitute teaching job, and finally a full time position. Everett High School is inner-city Lansing, MI. The students here and the variety in culture, viewpoints, attitudes and work ethic provide a never boring job.

This spring I traveled to Sweden, the land of my ancestors, for the first time. Being in a place where they knew how to pronounce Quarnberg and knew that my first name wasn’t Britney was refreshing. It called to me. I’ve also traveled to The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Spain, France, Ireland, Scotland, and the United Kingdom overall. The desire to live in Europe, where 100% of my ancestors are from, has inspired me to apply to teach international students, with viewpoints, cultures and traditions I can learn from.

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