Fatema Burhani paints on a bench. While she does enjoy painting, solving jigsaw puzzles is her pandemic hobby of choice.
- Where did you work before Lab?
- Before coming to Lab, Ms. Burhani worked at North Shore Country Day School as a geometry and precalculus teacher.
- How would you describe your style of teaching
- “I think one of the things I always found very valuable in teaching — especially mathematics — is to always explain as to why we are doing what we are doing. I always try and step back even if nobody asks. The other thing I think that I’ve found useful is to be my authentic self. I went to a very restricted British school growing up, where the teacher is all-knowledgeable, and everybody listens to the teacher. I think that is a very restricted way to teach. I think if that is the way we start thinking, what we are able to achieve is very limited. It’s very important to think like ‘Hang on, there is not only one mind, my mind. There are actually 22 minds over here.’ That has been something that has been very important. While yes, it’s true I have more experience with mathematics, that doesn’t mean I know the perfect way to solve this problem.”
- What do you hope your students will say about you at the end of the year?
- “I think the goal has always been to provide a platform where it’s not about knowledge, where you have to memorize all these trig identities. It’s more like developing skills to know how to problem solve. This is what I would really hope for. If you are given any kind of mathematics problem, the student should be able to be like, ‘OK, I have this mathematics problem in front of me. It might seem really overwhelming, but I can write down tools that I think I might need to solve this mathematics problem.’ I want the students to think about it the other way around. These are the problems; what do we need to do to solve these problems? And I think that’s the skills that I hope for them to grow.”
- What was one of your favorite pandemic activities?
- Jigsaw puzzles!