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New Teacher Spotlight: Emily Samek

Emily+Samek+has+taught+for+fifteen+years+in+various+locations%2C+including+Boston+and+Guinea%2C+West+Africa.+Photo+by+Timothy+Ordillas.+
Emily Samek has taught for fifteen years in various locations, including Boston and Guinea, West Africa. Photo by Timothy Ordillas.

Emily Samek has taught for fifteen years in various locations, including Boston and Guinea, West Africa. Photo by Timothy Ordillas.

Emily Samek has taught for fifteen years in various locations, including Boston and Guinea, West Africa. Photo by Timothy Ordillas.

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1.) Where are you from?

I am from Elyria, Ohio.

2.) What brought you to the Cleveland area?  

I left Ohio in 2003 to attend graduate school in Boston and returned in 2014 to be closer to my family.

3.) What was the process like applying for a job at BHS?  

The application process made it evident that Beachwood has very high standards for its students. It was intense; everyone I interviewed with had a serious poker face. I couldn’t tell if the interviews were going well or not.

4.) Have you taught before?  

This will be my 16th year in education.  My first 13 years were spent teaching high school math in Boston and in Guinea, West Africa.  When I returned to Cleveland, I served as the Academy Director at Boys Hope Girls Hope, an education non-profit serving middle school, high school, and college students from Cleveland and Akron.

5.) How do you think Beachwood will be similar/different than other schools?

Beachwood’s diversity is unique compared to many other local districts. At my new teacher orientation, I learned about how many different languages are spoken in the district and I look forward to being a part of this community.

6.) What are you expectations/plans for this year?  

I expect to work hard for my students, with my students. I expect students to be persistent when material is difficult.  I plan on learning from both students and colleagues, and to create a classroom community where students feel comfortable making mistakes in the learning process.

7.) Do you assign a lot of homework?

In order to become stronger in math, you need to do math.  I assign a reasonable amount of homework.

I expect to work hard for my students, with my students.  I expect students to be persistent when material is difficult.   I plan on learning from both students and colleagues, and to create a classroom community where students feel comfortable making mistakes in the learning process.”

— Math teacher Emily Samek

8.) Where did you go to college? Would you recommend it to Beachwood students?  

I attended John Carroll University for my undergraduate studies, and Boston College and Harvard for graduate school.  I loved all three places, and I’d recommend them if they are a good fit for your interests and you do not have to take large student loans to attend.

9.) What is your favorite book or movie? Why?  

One of my favorite movies is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation; I watch it every Christmas with my family.

10.) How do you cope with stress?

Music and water are essential for stress relief; I love to put on my headphones and go for a walk or run at Edgewater Beach or go for a row on the Cuyahoga River.

11.) Do you use social media in your classroom? Why / why not?  

I do not have plans as of now, but am open to learning how BHS students use social media in class in ways that work for them.  I’m always open to learning and trying something new!

12.) What’s so great about the subject you teach?  

Oh wow.  Where to begin? Mathematics is beautiful. Math helps us understand our world in ways that only the study of mathematics can. What is a pattern if you cannot express why it is a pattern and predict what will come next?  Finding a solution after tackling a hard problem isn’t just incredibly satisfying, it also expands the way your mind works and thinks about all subjects. The study of geometry allows you to see the aesthetic beauty of math.  

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New Teacher Spotlight: Emily Samek