By Dharma Bartram
Lina Ahmadieh moved to the U.S. from Lebanon a few months ago and is now teaching math at Novato High School.
The primary difference between the education system in Lebanon, particularly in math, is the style of teaching, according to Ahmadieh. She explained that in Lebanon, direct teaching is utilized more often than group work, unlike at Novato High.
Moving to another country could be considered a difficult process, especially when the language spoken and culture is entirely different from what one if used to. However, Ahmadieh expressed how smooth the transition has been for her.
“I didn't find any difficulty, on the contrary,” Ahmadieh said. “I found support and I am so lucky to be in this school because the Novato math department is a great department. They supported me to the maximum and I succeeded because of their support.”
Ahmadieh shares a room with Linda Mathies and Tina Schumikowski for different periods and described working with other staff members.
“She is dedicated to her students, she knows her material very well, she’s a highly educated mathematician and she spent several years in Lebanon learning how to teach mathematics…she is kind and cares a lot about kids,” Schumikowski, who teaches Algebra 1 and Statistical Reasoning in Sports, said.
“The people here are very nice,” Ahmadieh said. “They are all helpful.ven if they don’t know me, they just smile and give me support.”
Schumikowski described a student who came into their shared classroom with a bouquet of flowers. The student came forward and said they were for Ahmadieh because of how hard she had been working and how great she had been doing, knowing how her transition may have been challenging. Ahmadieh displayed half of the bouquet in Schmikowski’s room and the other half in Mathies’ room, sharing them with her co-workers.
Junior Natalie Hays is one of Ahmadieh’s students this year and enjoys her style of teaching.
“I like her because she's understanding,” Hays said. “You can ask her for help and she's always there for you. She gives a lot of opportunities to bring up your grade. She cares about all her students and treats them with a lot of respect. She also teaches at a really good pace.”
Ahmadieh explained that she decided to be a teacher not only because of her love of teaching but also to change the negative stigma of math as a subject.
“I like to transfer all that I know, information, to let students master the skills of mathematics,” Ahmadieh said. “From the time I was a kid, I heard that math was a hard subject and most students struggle (with it) so I put in my mind that I want to change this idea and it's all about giving them the tools and the right way to study well. I want to change the opinion that math is hard.”
Ahmadieh’s passion for teaching, desire to make math more manageable and positive, and kind attitude has made her an effective new member of the Novato High mathematics department.