What she does:
- Sarah Kate Selling currently works as a high school math teacher at the American School of Milan in northern Italy. She teaches 11th and 12th graders in the International Baccalaureate diploma program. The American School of Milan supports a laptop program at the high school level, which allows for significant use of technology in the classroom. She works to include as much investigation and mathematical modeling into the learning process, making use of Excel, LoggerPro, and graphing calculators.
Math on the job:
- At the American School of Milan, Sarah Kate teaches three levels of IB math: Math Studies, Math Standard Level, and Math Higher Level. The math required for each class varies significantly. Math Studies, which is usually selected by students who will not study math again, covers fairly basic math including trigonometry, functions, statistics, logic, and basic calculus. Math SL includes more calculus, matrices, vectors, and a more in depth study of topics like statistics and trigonometry. Math HL is a rigorours math course, which requires the teacher to select an optional topic like "sets, relations, and groups" or "series and differential equations".
Sarah Kate's background:
- Sarah Kate graduted from Swarthmore College in 2003 with a major in math and a minor in music. She often refers back to her differential equations, linear algebra, and modern algebra texts as resources for her current classes. Although most of the math she teaches is still at a high school level, it is essential to have an in-depth understanding of the theorems that stand behind the math that the students are learning. Students tend to ask the most probing questions!
Her interest in teaching began in high school when she started tutoring math. During her four years at Swarthmore, Sarah Kate worked as a grader and tutored for the math department. Additionally, she took a number of education courses, which provided an opportunity for her to learn more about pedagogy and for her to interact with students. In particular, she was introduced to the constructivist philosophy of education that became the foundation of her teaching.
During the summer of 2005, Sarah Kate traveled to Bratislava, Slovakia to attend a week long training workshop for teachers in the IB program. More than anything else, this conference provided an opportunity to meet math teachers from international schools all over the world. Teachers were able to share ideas and materials with others in the same program.
Sarah Kate's advice to students:
- For anyone interested in teaching math at the high school level, especially in a program as comprehensive as the IB, it is important to take a wide variety of math courses in college, including statistics. Education courses also provide important insights into the high school classroom, since it is one thing to understand the math and quite another thing to teach it to students who would rather be anywhere else than in math class!