College: Medgar Evers College
Awards: Math for America Fellowship, 2014
Personalizing Math Instruction
Math always came easily to Andre Braddy. In eighth grade, he would leap for the buzzer during his teacher’s weekly puzzle-solving math contest. He particularly relished trick and above-grade-level questions. When he transferred from the University of South Carolina to Medgar Evers College, from which he graduated in 2012, he switched from engineering to math. “The professors were so welcoming. You got the personalized touch,” he says.
Now, with a nationally competitive 2014 Math for America Fellowship, Braddy is on his way to becoming a New York City public high school math teacher. The award covers a three-semester master’s in secondary mathematics education at City College. It also provides a $100,000 stipend spread over five years, including the first four years of teaching, in addition to the regular teacher’s salary. This long-term payout aims to retain new teachers during the stressful first years in the classroom, when attrition is highest.
“I like to concentrate on high school because, as a teaching assistant now, I work with a lot of calculus students. That’s my specialty,” he says. “In middle school, you want students to think, but you have to teach the curriculum. In high school you deal with more real-life applications, and if you come up with a different solution than I do, we can dissect the thought process so we can come up with the same answer.”
Since graduating from Medgar Evers, he has worked with Medgar Evers’ Frank Ragland Math Masters Institute, which prepares students at Middle School 61 in Central Brooklyn to study science, technology, engineering and math in high school. “Once you set the tone, relate to them and show them that I’m not just your instructor, I’m here to talk with you, they fall right in.”
Braddy says he may enroll in a Ph.D. program somewhere down the line, but for the moment, “I like that I can get to do what I love to do, which is to teach.”