Marlboro College

Communities Saurav Rana

Creative solutions to teaching math

When Saurav Rana ’06 graduated from Marlboro with a Plan of Concentration in visual arts, he never imagined applying that background to teaching math to middle school students. But Saurav has found that it was the perfect preparation after all, and he is currently teaching algebra at Amherst Regional Middle School in Amherst, Massachusetts.

“The Marlboro academic structure enabled me to take many classes across multiple disciplines, which helped me become a well-rounded and a creative individual,” said Saurav. “For me, a successful teacher has to be creative and flexible. Although I am not teaching art, I love to incorporate art into my teaching.”

An immigrant from Nepal, Saurav got his first taste of American middle schools soon after graduating, when he assisted a teacher at Brattleboro Area Middle School. After working in an office setting for a couple years, he took a long-term substitute position at Amherst for a teacher who was on maternity leave.

“Since then I have not looked back,” he said. “I have always enjoyed doing math, and I came to learn that I enjoy working with kids, especially this age group, when I coached soccer. The combination of teaching math and working with pre- and early teen students really excited me. I had taken enough math at Marlboro that I was able to pass the MTEL licensure test without any extra math courses.”

Saurav admits that dealing with seventh and eighth graders is not the easiest thing in the world, and some students can be difficult. It has taken him some time to set the right working classroom environment and find his balance between strict and casual. It’s a lot of work, including late nights and weekends, and he says it would be an impossible job if he didn’t love it so much.

“Teaching is one of the hardest jobs, if you want to do a good job at it,” Saurav said. “The thing that I enjoy the most is helping kids learn new things and show them that math can be fun.”

Of course some of his working late nights could be because he and his wife, Julie Shumway ’06, recently had twins, who he says “have consumed our lives in the best possible sense.” The four of them will be returning to Marlboro College in fall 2013 so that Julie can work as a visiting math fellow for the academic year.

“We are very excited to be back and be part of the community that we love,” said Saurav. “I also plan to be involved in the soccer endeavors as well as four square outside the dining hall. Mostly we are just happy to be part of Marlboro again and to be sharing that joy with our kids this time.”

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