She hated math until she encountered algebra 2 in the 11th grade. Although she planned to major in a STEM field in college, and would eventually earn not only a B.S. in computer science but an M.S. as well—she would have never dreamed of also pursuing a minor in math, which she did—the very subject she hated.
But a life-changing encounter with Mr. Frank, a gifted and perceptive African American math teacher, changed her mind completely by bringing alive the subject she liked least.
Today, Saundra Carter (shown in photo, left, tutoring young charges) is an IT professional with more than 25 years’ experience. She also owns her own math tutoring business and is passing on her expertise and passion for math to the next generation. Author of the wonderfully named book, How to Help Parents and Kids Get Over the Fear of Math, Carter says math is fun. “You have to teach it using real-world examples and things kids like. For example, Mr. Frank used football to relate to football players.”
Carter’s Atlanta-based business, Math 1 on 1 L.L.C., employs college students and recent college grads who have studied a technical discipline. Her services are fairly comprehensive: She teaches everyone from elementary school students to adults who may need to ace work-related exams. What about those who don’t live in the Atlanta area? “We have Skype capability,” says Carter, a graduate of Southern University A&M and Georgia Tech. Math 1 on 1 also provides college-level tutoring in physics and chemistry.
The initial tutoring session lasts a minimum of two hours, during which the student’s strengths are evaluated and areas that need improvement are determined. A screening for algebra readiness can also be done, if appropriate. Charges vary depending on the course; the more complex the subject, the higher the price. “Students earn an average increase of 50 points on the math portion of the SAT after taking our SAT Math Boot Camp,” Carter says.
She even provides self-help approaches for those who want to try teaching themselves. The video, book, and other resources can also be used to supplement the one-on-one tutoring.
Through her tutoring business, Carter seeks to debunk three myths:
- Girls cannot do math. In fact, girls (and boys) can do anything.
- I can’t be good at math because my parents aren’t good at math. In fact, even if no one in your family is “good at math,” you can still master it.
- Algebra is the new math. In fact, algebra is not new. It was invented by the Egyptians 3,000 years ago.
In 2003, the volatile economy made Carter think about starting her own business. “People say you should ask yourself what you love doing so much that you would do it even if you didn’t get paid for it. Well, I had been tutoring youngsters for years without being paid, so I knew that math tutoring would be my business.” Carter also has corporate sponsors that she’s developed through personal networking.
Thanks to a gifted math teacher who literally changed the direction of her life, Carter has experienced a rewarding STEM career and is now investing in the lives of others. For more about the Math Lady, go to http://www.math1on1.net/.