©Copyright 2017 - Laura Bradford, MAT

laura@bradfordmath.com

My three years teaching at Phillips Exeter, a boarding school in Exeter, NH, have taught me that students' experiences outside the classroom have a profound effect on their successes within the classroom. With individual support and encouragement, any student can achieve beyond expectations. While teaching and tutoring math in the dorm, it has always been my goal to find the most effective method for each individual student.

Tutoring was always the best part of my day as a math teacher. During my three years teaching, coaching, and living at Phillips Exeter Academy, my favorite memories were helping individual students overcome the challenges they faced both inside and outside the classroom. 

My journey into tutoring and teaching began in my childhood. I grew up in Avon, CT, and attended the local public schools there. Although math was always one of my favorite subjects, I always had to work at it in order to succeed at it myself. My own experience discovering how to thrive in math while growing up is a key motivator for me to help others do the same.

I attended Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY from 2009-2013. I did not intend on majoring in mathematics when I first arrived. I took a math course for a distribution requirement my first year, and I found myself wanting to do my math homework while in my other classes. My path to majoring in math was clear from then on. I worked as a math tutor while in college, and I enjoyed the experience so much that I decided to pursue teaching as a career. I developed an infectious enthusiasm for math during these years, an enthusiasm I still show proudly to this day!

 

My first job after college was my math teaching fellowship at Phillips Exeter Academy during the 2013-2014 academic year. This was the year I first learned to teach through working closely with other math teachers, observing countless classes of all subjects, and teaching my own classes. During the 2014-2015 academic year, I obtained a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) with a focus on mathematics from Bard College. While studying here, I taught and tutored 7th and 8th graders in arithmetic, prealgebra, algebra, and Regents preparation. I also received my New York State Secondary Mathematics Teaching Certification, which enables me to teach math in NYS public schools for grades 7-12.

I returned to Exeter in 2015, teaching full time. While at Exeter, I taught math classes ranging from Algebra I to BC Calculus using Exeter's problem-based learning (PBL) curriculum to over 50 students each academic trimester from grades 9-12. Teaching with a PBL and discussion-based pedagogy has enabled me to understand my students' diverse ways of thinking about challenging mathematics; this understanding has enhanced my ability to tutor because I can help each student build on his or her own natural strengths.

 

In addition to tutoring the subjects found in all secondary math courses, I also worked with students on everything from SAT and ACT preparation to study skills. The residential component of life at Phillips Exeter enabled me to tutor as much as I taught. Those "aha!" moments I created while tutoring became the highlight of my time there. I had other immensely gratifying experiences at Exeter as a "triple threat", including coaching the diving team and serving as a student adviser where I supported boarding students and their parents. My fulfillment in these roles outside of the classroom inspired my decision to tutor full time.