Nicholas Link is about to complete his first year teaching Pre-Cal and Advanced Qualitative Reasoning at YES Prep Southwest. He is a Teach For America–Houston Corps Member and a recent graduate of Rice University, where he majored in Computational and Applied Mathematics. We interviewed him about the importance of teaching STEM.
Why YES Prep?
I had four or five friends who went to work at YES Prep the year before I graduated. Through talking to them, I became excited about the prospect of teaching, and it seemed like YES Prep would offer me a lot of support.
Tell us more about the support you’ve received as a first-year teacher.
Teaching Excellence provides really specific instructional training, and I love having an Instructional Coach. She provides feedback frequently. She always follows up and holds me accountable to my goals.
Why do we need more people with STEM backgrounds in the teaching profession?
There is a huge demand for STEM teachers. Plus, I’m stronger in my content because of my math background at Rice. I’m able to understand where the material will lead long-term and why it’s important and applicable to the future. I can also set examples and be a model of someone who has succeeded in the STEM profession.
What do you want your students to take away from your class?
I want them to have an understanding of the STEM field that goes beyond the content I’m teaching. I want them to enjoy math and to build skills in how they approach problems, so they can tackle any difficult problem.
A big inhibitor for a lot of students is a lack of confidence in math. They think they’re not capable of doing the work, and that stops them from pursuing a major in STEM. As a math teacher, I can inspire them to have confidence and help them feel successful.
My YES Prep is where students build passion and confidence for mathematics.
My future is building students’ problem-solving skills so they can be successful inside and outside the classroom.
Interested in a position at YES Prep? Reach out to Ana.Wolfowicz (at) yesprep (dot) org.