Friday, October 16, 2015

What am I doing with this Math Degree?

This month I have started actively seeking out new students to tutor. With this, I have been trying a new tutoring style where I am trying to engage with my students on a more macro level. Instead of just helping them week to week, homework to homework, I am attempting to learn more about their math schedule and study habits when they aren't there. I am looking to find out when their tests and quizzes are to make sure they start preparing adequately ahead of time.

One of the other things I am doing is I'm making videos on topics I don't feel like I adequately covered, or just for questions that stumped me while I was tutoring. (I don't charge for the videos). What I hope to communicate through this method is, math isn't a knowledge base you just perfect memorize you go on. Even math majors can become temporarily stumped by a question, but with time and thinking, we can achieve understanding. (The videos are of questionable quality. I'm working on trying to get the static out of the background, and perhaps have a better system for recording videos than streaming on Twitch then exporting to YouTube). 

My videos right now, are very tailored to what we were discussing in the tutoring session. As in, I don't go into great detail about what the student already knew, but briefly cover it and then jump straight to the part which was more difficult to work through .But watching these videos now, I feel like I should perhaps do a more general video that describes the topic, and then do a second video talking about the specific (using a related problem, so I don't take away the experience of the student being able to engage with the material they were assigned). 

Aside from tutoring, I have also decided to apply to be a part of  Ada Developers Academy Winter cohort. This program is very appealing to me. It is a year long, tuition-free, intensive program for women interested interested transitioning to software development. I think this could be a great opportunity to transition my love for problem solving that I learned into mathematics into a career. When I was in junior high and high school, I loved spending my night looking through the source code on webpages, trying to teach myself html. When I reached college, for some reason I can't fathom, I never even considered how to transition this into a career. 

Another reason I am considering this program is, although I like tutoring and I have several years of experience doing it, I think it's going to be really difficult to make a salary in which I could support myself doing it. I think also, one of the things that bothers me about private tutoring is that I'm essentially only working with students whose parents make enough money to afford them. I could volunteer, but all of the hours that students generally can be tutored (4-8pm on weekdays) I need to use to private tutoring to make enough money. I think if I could get a solid career in web development, I could invest a little time each week to volunteering for a tutoring program for students who can't otherwise afford such a service. 

Also, I feel like once I learn more about web development, perhaps I can get inspired to link my expertise in both areas to create something that could really help out a lot of students. 

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