Go to content
Interview with a Math Teacher
Most people who are considering a career in teaching have questions. Who better to ask than an experienced teacher? With this in mind, we interviewed Scott Meyers, who teaches middle school mathematics at Golden Hills School in El Dorado Hills, California.
What do you teach?
I teach Pre-Algebra (6th and 7th grade), Algebra (7th and 8th grade), Geometry (8th grade), and Algebra 2 (8th grade).
I have mostly taught math throughout my teaching career but I have also taught computer courses ranging from beginner courses (the programs needed to be successful in school) to more advanced courses (HTML web building and programming/app building, etc.).
How long have you been teaching?
I have been at my current school for 4 years, but I have been teaching for 7 years. Prior to getting my teaching credential, I worked at a pre-school. I have also tutored people in math for over 10 years, from elementary school age through college level math.
Where did you get your teaching credential?
I originally started by going through the teaching program through Brandman University (part of Chapman University in Southern California).
I ended up finishing my credential through the district intern program through Fortune School of Education in Sacramento CA. It’s an Alternative Preparation Program.
What was it like going through an intern program?
The district intern programs are intense. You learn what you are able to handle. The program starts off with 6 week, 5 days a week, for 5 hours a day boot camp style classes. Once in the classroom, the classroom is yours; you have a master teacher watching over you, but you get to make the class all your own.
- While teaching you are still completing classes to get your credential. Over all the process takes 2 years, but you learn what you are capable of handling.
What was the most challenging part of getting your credentials?
Balancing one’s time between creating lessons, completing homework, and having a personal life
How long did it take you to get your credentials?
- I began getting my credential through Brandman University in 2010/2011. However life got in the way and I did not finish getting my credential until I completed the program through Fortune School of Education in 2014. That program from start to finish took 2 years, from the summer pre-service bootcamp until I completed all courses and requirements.
Was there anything that surprised you about getting your credentials?
- I did not realize the number of steps needed to complete a credential initially. Prior to starting the credential process I had to take the CBEST test. Because I did not get my degree in mathematics, while taking credential classes, I had to take subject competency tests CSET (which there are multiple of for all subjects).
What do you like most about teaching?
I feel that I make a difference in the students’ lives, not just academically but also the character of the person. I love seeing the "lightbulb moment" where they realize they are capable of more and want to be more.
How do you see your efforts impacting students’ lives and society in the long-run?
- I hope that the students that I have taught will remember the important lessons and problem solving for years to come. I don’t expect them to remember the details of the lessons but the meaning behind what I was teaching them. I know that many of the concepts they learn with me will be forgotten, but knowing how to solve a problem and looking at the whole picture.
Why is math instruction important?
Math lessons are not just about math, they teach you about problem solving, real-world connections, and finding a new way to look at a problem when the original method did not work.
- Also math surrounds us. Everything has some connection back to math.
What is your daily routine related to teaching (planning, preparing stuff, teaching, grading…?)
At this point I have my lessons setup in the order that I want. I have created Google presentations for all lessons, so I have the ability to change or completely redo a lesson, which has made things much easier. I have realized that teaching 4 subjects a day with 5 different classes makes it difficult to keep track of so many assignments. This is why I have students turn in homework at the end of the week. Each day we go over any problems from the night before and we discuss them as a class. When the students get their homework out, I stamp the homework to show that the students have completed it. At the end of the week, students turn in their homework, which I then grade over the weekend and return to the students at the beginning of the following week.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about becoming a math teacher?
- It is both exhausting and rewarding at the same time. I have had many jobs in my life, but nothing has given me the joy and excitement when I talk about my day as teaching has. Even on my worst days, I am still looking forward to what the next day will bring.