The Denver Math Fellows program is a full time service year in Denver Public Schools for recent college graduates from any major, career changers interested in education and retirees from a range of professions. To become a math fellow for the 2015-2016 school year click “apply now” at the top of this page!
Below is an excerpted interview with current math fellow Imad Ridha conducted by Seth Vander.
Fellow Spotlight – Imad Ridha
Where did you go to college?
I went to a few different colleges. First, I studied dentistry (Dept. of Orthodontics) in Baghdad, Iraq from 1991 to 1993. In 1994, I studied the English Language for 4 years at the University of Baghdad/College of Languages. I hold a B.A. in the English language and an Associates in French. I also studied Information Technology at Cambridge Modules for 9 months. In the long term, I am planning to study in a college/university in the US to become a teacher.
How did you hear about the Math Fellows program?
Via an email from DPS. I was already working for DPS as a paraprofessional at McMeen Elementary School. The email discussed the program, so I decided to attend the orientation held at the Emily Griffith building in July 2014 and applied immediately afterwards.
Why did you want to become a Fellow?
I like teaching and I like working with kids. Along with my 9 years of experience, I think I can do something amazing for the kids.
What do you enjoy most about being a Fellow?
Working with small groups of students, building that kind of relationship, and watching them grow academically and mentally.
What has been the biggest struggle you’ve faced this year?
On the career level, a lot of students did not know how to spell or write words correctly. They did not even know the meaning of some key words (like twice for example), so it was really hard for them to work out a word problem.
Can you describe your typical day?
I wake up at around 6 a.m., exercise for a bit, then I head off to work. After school, I go shopping. At night, I work with my kids for at least one hour every day. I check my email and then watch TV if time allows. On Saturdays and Sundays, I usually take the family out.
What is a struggle you have faced in life and how have you overcome it?
In 2006-2007, my country was on the brink of a civil war. We sometimes had to stay indoors for days. I therefore had to leave my job, but I was able to find a new one where I worked from home for more than a year.
What is an accomplishment you are most proud of?
I am really proud that I helped a lot people find a job through teaching them English (and sometimes computers) when I was the head of the English Dept. at the Iraqi Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. People were consistently calling or emailing me saying “Thank you for your help, I found the job I wanted!” That really made my day!
The mission of the Denver Math Fellows program is to close the opportunity gap by providing small group math instruction for our highest need students in order to accelerate their academic growth in preparation for college and career.