With great power comes great responsibility

At a conference for Women in Mathematics, a distinguished professor spoke about reaching out to the greater community being one of the best parts of her job. In particular, she volunteered tutoring remedial math for adults. Many of her students thought she had a superpower for being able to do math so well. For her, it was a break from the monotony of research where she often feel confused and inadequate until she came up with a solution.

I’ve since been thinking of being able to do math as a superpower. These thoughts often are coupled with wanting to use my schooling to affect more than just a small community of mathematicians, or (often) privileged 18 year old college students that I teach calculus to. So, I have decided to volunteer helping adults learn how to do math, read, and use the computer. I think it will be an interesting experience, especially since I finding teaching basic math a challenge. (Have you tried explaining how to factor something recently?) Hopefully I will feel like my “superpower” is not going to waste.

Has anyone had experience with programs like this? What should I expect as I begin to tutor? As always, looking forward to the comments.

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