M.A. in Math Foundation Student Testimonials
“I’ve always liked math. I’m a concrete, sequential type of person. I like things in black and white. But, I realized I didn’t want to teach fourth grade the rest of my career. I wanted to be in a position to teach elsewhere.”
For Josh Ganz, a master’s degree in Mathematical Foundations was a logical next step in his career path. A fourth grade teacher at Mount Prospect Elementary School since 2006, Josh wanted to become certified for middle school math.
Although he began the Mathematical Foundations program with the goal of seeking only to become “Highly Qualified” with a middle school math certification, he opted to complete the master’s program when he realized how quickly he could earn an advanced degree. He is hopeful those added credentials will further enhance his career.
Josh, who completed the program in 2013, says it has already impacted the way he sees — and teaches — math. “The program gave me a different perspective on how to teach math. We were shown how we probably learned it, then how to teach it in a different way,” he says. “Mathematical Foundations enabled me to more readily recognize a breakdown in learning — where a kid is not grasping an area. It changed my approach to the how and why behind math. I learned it’s not always about the answer; it’s how you get to the answer that’s important.”
Fourth Grade Teacher • Mount Prospect Elementary School
“I came in hating math and completely turned off by it. But Mathematical Foundations taught me to enjoy math and to take a deep breath. It is helping me with the new core curriculum — and made me a better teacher.”
How does a teacher with math anxiety deal with her phobia? Special education teacher Jordan Plescia tackled it by taking graduate-level courses in Mathematical Foundations. Her main goal was to complete the 15 credits needed to become “Highly Qualified” and seek middle school math certification. Now she’s thinking seriously about continuing her studies to complete the full master’s program.
“It’s opening doors for me,” she says. Jordan, whose struggles with math began in second grade, says she failed to get a good foundation in math in school. “It was never explained so I could grasp it. I was able to just get by,” she says. The Mathematical Foundations courses helped her to overcome her math anxiety and improve her teaching. She has taken both face-to-face and online classes as part of her studies.
“I discovered I really love to teach math. It is so gratifying to be able to break it down for children so they understand. Mathematical Foundations improved my understanding of math and gave me the confidence and resources I need to help my kids learn.”
Special Education Teacher • Charles DeWolf Middle School