“We have to make sure the kids don’t feel the effects of her leaving,” said Waniya, our Program Manager, when asked about the sudden withdrawal of CREATE Academy’s math instructor. She had been one of the first summer hires; a credentialed math instructor with a PhD to boot, and BCM was excited to have her. When after only two days, our instructor suddenly fell ill and was unable to return, the math component of CREATE Academy was in danger. There was no time to find and hire a new credentialed teacher, and Waniya was beyond stressed trying to salvage the class. But, “God knew,” she said.
“Alex is great! She is flexible and willing to work,” said Waniya about our math assistant/intern who stepped up to lead the class. Alex had initially applied for the instructor position and her experience tutoring in math, science and engineering, along with the fact that she attends UC Berkeley studying Chemical Engineering was impressive, but because she was not credentialed, BCM offered her the intern position instead. Every classroom has an intern who is trained to fill in if the instructor takes a sick day or has an emergency but never has an intern had to take over the entire class indefinitely. Alex happily accepting this new and unexpected responsibility was a blessing.
“All of the kids are really open. For the most part they are attentive and know that I want them to have a fun experience,” says Alex about her transition from intern to instructor. The students really connected with Alex’s teaching style while she was serving as an assistant so when it was announced that she would be leading the class they were even more excited. “That is why I am so math oriented,” said Alex, crediting her middle school math teacher for her love and interest for math and discussing how he made learning fun through real world applications. Alex went on to express her concern for the way math is most often taught, “It is too memorization based; it doesn’t teach them [the students] to understand” she said. When discussing her own teaching methods, Alex emphasized not only ensuring students can solve a problem, but that they can see the logic behind the solution by using relatable, fun and relevant applications. In her closing statements Alex said, “I want to get them interested in math, science and engineering.”
There are times like this when the unexpected happens and our plans must be reimagined in response to unforeseen events but the one thing that is constant is God’s promise to provide when everything seems to be falling apart. We are humbled day in and day out as the Lord continues to show us his love and grace.
CREATE Academy students take a field trip to Natural Bridges State Beach.
CREATE Academy Interns help serve lunch, supervise students, and assist teachers during class time.
CREATE Academy students enjoy the outdoors during lunch.