Alumna finds her calling in math education
Rebekah Penrose, ’13, knows that math is typically one of the last things a high school student would consider a favorite subject.
However, the recent Corban School of Education grad is finding ways to make math fun and incorporate her faith at the same time as a teacher at Faith Bible High School in Hillsboro, Ore.
“I know what it feels like to finally ‘get’ a math problem,” Penrose said. “It’s a great feeling.” She currently teaches five math classes and one physics class each day. She is building solid relationships with her students and is already seeing the conversations and tutoring with them prove fruitful.
“I love to hear ‘I’ve never liked math, but I really like your class,’” she said. “It’s an amazing thing to hear, especially as a math teacher.” She also noted that although she works at a Christian school, not all of the students come from a Christian household or background. She said math is a segue to conversations about God.
“There are the concepts of constants and infinity,” she said. “I tell them that there is really only one constant and that is God. Math proves God’s existence.”
Assistant Professor of Education Christie Petersen, Ed.D., said Penrose stood out to her when she attended Corban.
“”She understands teaching and learning concepts,” Petersen said. “She can break big concepts down into small, understandable chunks and that is something that can take years to accomplish.” She also noted Penrose’s ability to build relationships and that she “is an exceptional role model.”
“Many people look at teachers as coaches, but I see Rebekah as an orchestra conductor,” Petersen said. “There are so many facets to what it takes to teach math at the high school level and you have to learn these skills much like a conductor needs to learn many instruments before leading an orchestra. Rebekah already has many of the skills she needs to become a wonderful teacher.”