Building Connections through Math
Interview with Sonia, Math Corps Interventionist
Sonia is serving as a virtual Math Interventionist at an elementary school in the Flint Community School district for the spring semester of 2021. Sonia completed her Bachelor’s Degree and is enrolled in law school for the fall semester. She enjoys exploring Michigan and doing yoga. She is not sure what kind of law she wants to practice in the future.
I wanted to spend my time impacting the lives of others in some way. I really enjoyed the ability to work with students who were eager to improve their math skills and try to make learning as fun as possible during this virtual learning period.
Do you really have to be a “math person” to be an MEC Math Corps Interventionist? How has training and coaching helped to support you?
The format of the curriculum really allows you to not have to be an expert in math to be an interventionist. For a bonus, I have noticed that my basic math skills have improved as a result of teaching math all day for months.
What does your typical day look like? What is the best part of your day?
A typical day looks like sitting on my computer creating the workspace that the students will be working on based on the specific lesson. Then I have various sessions with small groups of students. I have weekly meetings with my Internal Coach and my Math Coach. I spend the later parts of my day entering the student information into the data management system.
What strategies do you use to engage students and get them excited about math?
I’ve learned that students get excited about math in different ways. Some students like to make math fact fluency into games. Other students like to reteach the lesson when I ask them to explain it and they get to act as the teacher when they are reviewing what we just learned for the day. Other students just really enjoy getting to “be around” their friends in small groups and talk about their day with us.
What is one thing that you want people to know about being a Math Corps Interventionist that they might not know?
I was surprised by how connected I was able to get to my students based on not knowing them for very long and requiring them to do math. Even though doing extra math early in the morning may not seem fun, I have had some students log in for two sessions because they like “being around” their friends and seem to really enjoy being in the class.
Has your service terms impacted you in unexpected ways?
I think that you learn a lot about the education system in your community, which you wouldn’t get to see
unless you went back to elementary school yourself or worked in one. The ability to “be in the classroom” allowed me to learn more about how our youth is educated and the constraints put on teachers and students. I think it impacted me going forward that I want to prioritize improving the education system in the future.
Is there anything else you want to share about your service experience?
There are lots of nice moments that make this position really worth it. Yesterday, I was working with a student who comes to Math Corps excited every time and once she got the answer correct she asked me to close my eyes for the big finale and I opened my eyes to find this on the jam board. It was nice to see that my students appreciate all the time I spend with them trying to improve their math skills.