My name is Rachel Chou. I consider myself to be incredibly lucky. I have a job that is intellectually engaging and also considerable amounts of just plain fun. I am a mathematics teacher at Menlo School on the San Francisco Bay Peninsula in Northern California. Every since I was a young child, I had a passion for learning and doing mathematics. As a young adult, I began to be intrigued by the process of teaching and learning in our culture. Inspired by two fantastic math and science teachers in high school, I chose to pursue teaching as a career, and am rewarded daily by that choice.
More important than the specific content included in any particular course that I teach is the habits of mind that I try to impart. I want to help give students a richer appreciation for what mathematics really is – a sense of order, a sense of wonder, and the power to approach rich and novel problems in everyday life. I want to strip my students of the belief that mathematics can be summarized as the process of memorizing formulas, and applying them to routine exercises that all fit a cookie-cutter example outlined by a textbook.
Of utmost importance to me is the classroom environment that is set up for students. I want students to be excited to attend math class, to feel safe asking questions and expressing uncertainty. Students should see their well-articulated questions as an opportunity for them to grow as a mathematical thinker, rather than as evidence that they may not understand a certain idea right at the moment.
In my free time, I enjoy reading, roller-blading, taking my beautiful 2-year-old daughter on outings such as the playground or zoo, baking yummy treats, and relaxing in front of a good TV show.
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