Christine Shen is an honors math teacher. Shen grew up in Florida and attended college there. She later came to Brookline to study at Boston University.
What is something fun you did this summer?
I tried to make ravioli from scratch-took a lot longer than I wanted it to. But I was inspired because I like to watch Chopped, and they always make ravioli for the appetizer round, and it takes them like 15 minutes to whip it together. I was like, “I really want ravioli,” and I tried and it took about four hours.
What were you doing before?
I was at BU for my graduate degree in violin performance. And then my second year in Brookline I was teaching at Needham High School.
How is it different from Needham?
It’s different in a lot of ways. I keep thinking about the school mantra “freedom and responsibility.” I love that we don’t have bells here. I love that we put so much trust in our students and faculty.
What was high school like for you?
I loved high school. I went to an IB school in Gainesville, Florida. It was six classes every day, the same classes in the same order for the same amount of time. And the IB class of 2007, we were part of a larger school, but our program was only 130 kids, so it was so tightly knit. We all knew each other. I loved the IB curriculum. I felt very motivated and very challenged. I found it all so interesting. I always told myself we are all in this together- we’re such a small class, we all know each other, we’re all taking these AP and these IB tests together, so we never felt alone when we were struggling in class because we had everyone else to ask. I really miss high school.
How did you know you wanted to do math?
So I majored in violin performance, and I had a math major in undergrad. And I always knew I wanted to be a high school math teacher, but I wanted to give music a try. So I got my Masters at BU and then I got my graduate degree. And I think music can do a lot of great things. I know it’s a great way to reach out to people using music, but I was not using it that way. For me it was just study, play, get better, give my performance. But I wasn’t doing anything bigger than that to give to the community. To me it started to not feel purposeful, so I was like I love math and teaching, so I want to give this a try now.
If you could teach any subject other than math, what would you teach?
Creative writing because I did so many seminars that I feel I could lead a creative writing class well. I have gathered so many ideas that the students would feel interested.
What is something you always remember to do in a classroom?
I do my best to make sure every student feels noticed and to remind them that I am available to help them.