Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Volunteering in a Math Lab

Name: Fernando Trevino Ramirez
From: Melbourne, FL
Grade: College Freshman
School: Eastern Florida State College
Votes: 0


Fernando Trevino

Youth Forward Scholarship 2016

20 April 2016

Volunteering in a Math Lab

As a volunteer at the Math lab on Eastern Florida State College (EFSC),
I worked one-on-one with students from all ages and backgrounds who
struggled with their math classes, including Developmental Math 1 and
2, Intermediate Algebra, College Algebra, Pre-calculus, Trigonometry,
and Calculus 1. This incredible experience left me with a great feel
of success and accomplishment, after being able to help students
succeed in their classes. Knowing that you can make a difference in
someone’s life is priceless, and the amount of experience gain is
something to be proud of. I would strongly recommend to everyone to
join a teaching position at least once in their life.

Mathematics is one of the topics where most of the students struggle. In fact,
according to an EdSource analysis, in the fall of 2010, 45 percent of
students taking college-level math courses at California’s 112
community colleges received a failing grade below a “C” or
dropped the class before the end of term (Fost, 3). Furthermore, I
have witness these type of events in my math classes. For example, we
start the semester with 20 or more students, and by the end of the
term more than half has dropped the class for several different
reasons, being a low C the most common one. For this reason, I
decided to start helping my friends in math, and after getting a
positive feedback from them, I thought to myself “Why just keeping
this between my friends? Why not find a public place where I can give
this service to more people?” And I did found this place called
“Math Lab”, situated inside of the library of EFSC, where
different volunteers and employees with high knowledge of math help
students from all different levels of math. I applied and after an
interview, a reference from my teachers, and a look to my grades
history on math they accepted me and I cannot be more grateful with
EFSC for giving me this opportunity.

As part of my work, I try to make math easy and fun for the students,
and I am constantly studying the student’s reactions to adjust my
teaching methods, so that I can find the one that best fits to them.
For example, some students like to go straight to the point because
they understand everything else, so I only explain what is needed to
be explained, but in the other hand, some students prefer to go nice
and slow, so I explain as many times and as many different ways as
they need or want to. In addition, I speak Spanish and English, and I
can easily help students with Spanish roots. One of my favorite
memories was when Ms. Solange, a student I worked with for several
weeks, told me that she liked the way I explain math “Clear, slow,
and patience” and that I was the only one who she understands,
because of how patience I was, enough to explain every single problem
like if it was the first time in the topic. I learned from her that
people pay attention to little details and feel more comfortable when
you are respectfully honest and try to help with their problem.

To summarize, being in the math lab is one of the best decisions I have
made, because I learned from my students as much as I teach them. And
sharing knowledge with the world is something we should all do. As
Santosh Kalwar once said “It does not matter where you go and what
you study, what matters most is what you share with yourself and the
world” (Kalwar, p. 19).

Works Cited

Fost, Dan. “Community College Students Struggle to Pass College-Level
Math”. New America Media. February 2012. Web. 19 April 2016.

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