Reflections on Student SuccessSubmitted by Julie Jordan, Math

I started working at Harper 20 years ago in the mathematics department after having taught high school for nine years. I used to just come to the college at night, teach my classes, and have no real interactions with people at Harper other than my students. I transitioned to teaching during the day when my kids entered grade school. I started to meet other people on campus and had the opportunities to go to workshops, symposiums, and conferences. I also started to work in the math lab (now DMC) and really got to know some great instructors and work with some developmental students. I have learned so much through those experiences. I have used what I learned in those forums and hopefully engaged my students through learning math. I also worked closely with the ADS office and was able to teach a few classes of all ADS students in MTH101 and work in their supplemental instruction tutoring room. This past fall I was also fortunate to earn the Level II status as an adjunct.

Many students that come to me are nervous, scared, or just outright terrified of being in a dreaded math class again. I had one student in particular that I think of often. This student came to me in the math lab and took many semesters to get through the completed MTH055 sequence in the lab. He had extreme math anxiety. He turned bright red every time he took an assessment, so much so that I was worried about his health. We worked diligently together until he felt confident in each type of problem. He worked his way all the way up to my MTH101 class. He could no longer take multiple semesters to get through a class; he had one semester to finish this last class that he needed to graduate. This student came in for help to the supplemental instruction ADS room, worked really hard and concentrated on the material. MTH101 is one of those classes that I can pull together math concepts that students have learned through the years and show them a place where “when I am ever going to use this stuff?” becomes a lightbulb moment. They end up feeling that “I actually can use this stuff!” This particular student made me a plaque when he finished MTH101 (with an A!) stating simply, “Thank you for showing me the beauty in mathematics.”

I hope to show every student the beauty of mathematics at Harper College.

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