Gorsuch working with her Precalculus students on pumpkins in Academy’s Crane Outdoor Classroom. (Courtesy/Julie Simmons)
The PC students had to explain to the little ones about how to measure arc length (an idea that we’ve been studying this last chapter) and the pre-K student helped us draw “math pictures.” The idea was to have a single object, pumpkins, spur mathematical question posing at every grade level. By being able to explain a PC topic in a way that a 4-year old could understand it, it pushed the older kids to really understand conceptually what the idea of arc length was. Arc length was no longer a formula. It was a physical representation on the surface of a pumpkin. (Rachael Gorsuch)
Rachael Gorsuch, our Upper School Mathematics teacher, was recently honored by Muskingum University, her alma mater, with the Emerging Alumni Award, which is bestowed upon alumni who in the first 15 years of their careers have made significant contributions to their profession and to the world. And although Grouch was presented the award for Social Responsibility, she still manages to associate her work with her passion as a math teacher.
Gorsuch says, “Since I’ve graduated from Muskingum, I’ve tried to say yes to a lot of opportunities, whether it’s in my comfort zone or out of my comfort zone. Saying yes to becoming parents of exchange students when I was barely 30 was definitely something out of my comfort zone, but it’s been very rewarding to our family. That was one of the aspects of the application process that led them to give me the award.”
Currently hosting her 4th exchange student, Gorsuch still applies her experiences with Social Responsibility to her professional life. “One of the things that’s interesting for me as a math teacher,” says Gorsuch, “is seeing how math is done all over the world in different cultures. Every culture seems to think that their method of doing math is perfect, yet we can always find holes in each other’s methodologies because of our own cultural lens. It’s in our instinct to learn about education in different countries and people in different countries and how that influences how we interact with each other.”
Gorsuch also takes insights from her personal life and applies them directly to the classroom. When asked how she likes to teach in the classroom, she said, “We have our own approach to learning in different cultures, but that trickles down to each person, because each student has their own approach to learning. I try to think that each student should be able to try and understand the concepts in their own way instead of having to conform to an objective methodology. That’s why we have time for students to come in and work with teachers to try and understand the concept in their own way.”
“This is one of the reasons why Columbus Academy is so great. I’ve had over 10 years of public school experience, and even though I love working with students one-on-one like this, I didn’t always have the time for office hours in that environment.”
Congratulations to Ms. Gorsuch on her outstanding achievements and recognition.