Middle School Math Teacher for Seattle Public Schools
Class of 2013, Mathematics major
As a math teacher at Washington Middle School in the Central District of Seattle, Nelson says every day is an adventure. During the week she is in the classroom, but she often spends weekends and school breaks at conferences and professional development opportunities to improve her teaching practice and her school. Nelson was offered a position on the Membership Committee for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) this year, and she says it has been exciting and challenging to have a leadership role in the world of education, and that she is grateful for the opportunity to serve on the committee.
How does your time at SPU connect to what you’re doing today?
Even though it may be corny, SPU’s motto of engaging the culture and changing the world has become a personal motto for myself. Everyday I am in the thick of youth culture in the Central District, which is a completely different culture than one I was raised in, but I love it. I have learned so much about the different perspectives of others and the challenges, heartaches, and joys so many people endure. I keep my eyes open and continually try to see others with an open heart and mind, knowing their story is deep. My long-term goals are now focused around changing our society to provide more equitable education for ALL students.
Which SPU faculty or staff member made a difference in your education?
Sharon Hartnett, professor of education, made a huge impact on my education at SPU. She taught one of the first education classes I had and everyday when I left her class my eagerness to teach was only confirmed. She had a passion for educating at-risk youth, a passion that was transferred to me. I will always remember her stories about her teaching experience and the way she described her connections to those kids. I hope I can make an impact on students the way that she did.
What advice would you give to current SPU students?
Find a mentor in your field. Many of my successes in my classroom and most of the opportunities I have been afforded outside my classroom pertaining to education are because of my mentor for the last three years.