BEAM 6 Summer Faculty Application

This summer, change the lives of motivated, high-potential students from underserved schools: help them open their minds to new areas of mathematical study and awaken a love of mathematics.

This page contains information about working at BEAM 6, our non-residential program in New York City. We are also hiring faculty for BEAM 7, our residential program in the Hudson Valley.  

About the Program

Bridge to Enter Advanced Mathematics (BEAM) is a free, high-impact program for underserved New York City students with demonstrated potential in mathematics. Our goal is to give our students access to the same resources for advanced study as their more affluent peers by helping them get into top high schools, summer programs, enrichment programs, and other opportunities for success. All of our programs are free.

BEAM 6 is a non-residential summer program for students in the summer between 6th and 7th grade. It is the first entry point to the BEAM program, and our chance to introduce students to problem solving and abstract reasoning, as well as to prepare them for more advanced work to come. After the summer, students will have access to free online courses, math books, and continuing math enrichment during 7th grade. The students are all encouraged to apply to BEAM's future programs.

We create a life-changing experience for our students, both academically and non-academically, where they'll be in a community of peers interested in mathematics for perhaps the first time in their lives. We supplement the social environment with activities, field trips, guest lectures, and more. All of our staff (including faculty) are welcome to join in on these activities.

BEAM 6 will run five weeks with 100 students from high-poverty schools across New York City. Although the location is not yet determined, it will be in midtown or downtown Manhattan with convenient subway access. We are excited to continue this new initiative and build a model for outreach across the country.

About the Students

Our students are bright and motivated students who lack sufficient challenge at their existing schools. They are excited to be here and ready to learn, but they may not have the mathematical background of other students who have had more regular access to enrichment.

Students are selected for a combination of insight on challenging math puzzles, teacher nominations, and demonstrated interest and motivation. Many will be the top math students at their schools; a few will be "wildcards" who might be less motivated in a traditional classroom setting but who showed promise on our problems, where we hope to light a spark.

In many cases, students' mathematical educations will have been procedural and rote. As a result, math can feel like jumbled facts to them rather than a coherent subject, and they may lack understanding of topics you consider elementary. Not surprisingly, this varies a lot by student and by school, although even the students who have a strong school math background usually have little enrichment background.

Over the course of the summer, the students become stronger in basic mathematics as well as mathematical reasoning. You will be astonished at what a difference we can make over five short weeks!

Students work together

Academics and Classes

In total, students take two hour-long courses each day (on an A/B alternating schedule, for a total of four courses throughout the summer) and have two hours of "Open Math Time" each day to work on problems from class as well as whatever independent math they want to study. We believe strongly in facilitating student initiative and choice, both through Open Math Time and also by allowing them to choose courses.

There are four topic areas, and each student chooses one course from each:

  • Logical Reasoning introduces logical reasoning including deductive logic, case analysis, working methodically, and proof by contradiction. Students are first introduced to puzzles such as Sudoku or Ken-Ken, liar/truthteller puzzles, or "matching riddles". Having gained basic skills in these puzzles, they transition to using those skills on mathematical problems.
  • Math Foundations covers mathematics from school. Based on Art of Problem Solving materials, we have a collection of questions designed to lead students to be more reflective on the mathematics they know and to learn to apply it in novel ways. These course leads students to understand mathematics without relying on memorized procedures.
  • Math Team Strategies exposes students to problems that require creativity, primarily through MATHCOUNTS problems. Most MTS courses cover a specific topic area such as number theory (focusing on prime factorization), combinatorics (focusing on the multiplication principle), or geometry, although there is flexibility for other models.
  • Applied Math introduces students to different areas of work related to mathematics. Examples include programming, astronomy, mathematical biology (such as predator and prey models, or genetics), or estimation and Fermi problems. Unlike the first three topics, there are no developed curricular materials for these courses; instead, we rely on faculty to develop their own courses around the topics that interest them. (However, last year's programming course has its materials available.)

In total, each course meets for one hour every-other-day (you will see two cohorts of students, alternating days), and has 10 class hours. In addition, you will work with students during Open Math Time.

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Your Role

As faculty, your role is to guide students as they discover new fields of mathematics. Our classes are small and highly interactive. Each class generally has around 15 students, and you will have a teaching assistant (either in college or a high school BEAM alum) to assist, allowing for a high degree of personalization.

You may teach either one class or two, so long as they do not conflict. Logical Reasoning and Math Fundamentals are offered in the morning, likely 9:20am-10:20am, while Math Team Strategies and Applied Math are offered in the afternoon, likely 1:05pm-2:05pm. Thus, you have the flexibility to have short days or to really dive into the program. Please note that we are still working out the details of the schedule for our second year in operation, so these times may change somewhat.

One of the most important periods of the program is Open Math Time, when students do independent work on problem sets from class, challenge problems, or other math of their own choice. There is an hour-long block of Open Math Time following each class period, and we ask that you stay during that block to assist students in your classes.

In total, there are 25 program days, so each class would usually have 12-13 class meetings. However, we would like to allow for each faculty member to visit other classes and for everyone to learn from one-another. (It's important to us that everyone, student and staff alike, are learning.) Hence, your class will be replaced by a "math circle" or other activity 2-3 times during the summer, in which you visit another class of your choice. In total, each class meets for 10 hours.

There are also a few other responsibilities. In detail, your expectations are:

  • Attend training on July 6 and 7.
  • Teach each class to two cohorts of students (on both A days and B days) and stay for Open Math Time following the classes you teach.
  • Communicate with your TA about the course: send them a brief overview of each day's topic and what their role will be. Note that TAs may not have much time to prepare before the class itself, but it is important to us that the TAs have positive experiences and learn about teaching.
  • Schedule a weekly meeting with your TA to briefly discuss how the class is going, individual students, and what you plan on covering in the future (we suggest at least 30 min each time).
  • For certain courses, assign and review student problem sets (completed during the independent study period).
  • When your class is replaced by a math circle, visit other classes (and, ideally, offer to discuss the class afterward with its teacher).
  • Attend up to two one-hour staff meetings per week. We expect these to be on Tuesdays and Fridays, 11:35am-12:35pm.
  • At the end of the summer, write a paragraph for each student about their progress in the class.
  • Also at the end of the summer, provide private feedback on each student to be used internally.
  • Attend a day of wrap-up on August 14.

You are also welcome (and encouraged!) to stay for meals and social events to get to know the students on a personal level (we run sports, arts and crafts, dance, karaoke, board games, and much more), although this is entirely optional. These connections are often some of the most valuable things students draw out of their summer. We also aim to build a community among our staff as well as among students, and so we host weekly staff dinners to allow you to meet other teachers and counselors at the program.

In general, we want our staff to be informal mentors for the students. We stay on a first-name basis with the students and often join them for activities or meals. You will get to know the students well, and you will form close bonds with many of them. They're a wonderful group of kids, eager to learn, often without the opportunity to do so at this level, and we think you'll be as excited as we are to lead them on this journey.

A note on WHAT WE'RE LOOKING FOR

We seek individuals who have a depth of mathematical expertise, good pedagogical style, classroom management skills, and the potential to be a role model. Our classes are about understanding mathematics on a deep level rather than procedures, and we're looking for teachers who can create classes that reflect this. Furthermore, we are looking for staff member who can reflect and seek personal growth, for our students, themselves, and the entire program.

SALARY AND OTHER DETAILS

In an effort to provide entry points for people at multiple stages of their careers, we have introduced junior faculty positions in addition to our faculty positions. Teaching responsibilities are similar, but junior faculty receive additional mentoring and support.

Faculty Positions

Faculty positions are especially intended for:

  • University professors, especially those with outreach experience,
  • Middle or high school teachers with strong mathematics backgrounds and 3+ years of experience, or
  • Graduate students in mathematics or related fields who have prior K-12 teaching experience.

Junior Faculty Positions

Junior faculty have the same responsibilities as faculty, although they receive additional mentoring from experienced BEAM instructors and attend a class planning retreat on July 5. We expect Junior Faculty to teach two courses, but please contact us if you are interested but can only teach one. Junior faculty positions are intended for:

  • Graduate students in mathematics or related fields, especially those with outreach experience,
  • Early career middle or high school teachers with strong mathematics backgrounds and less than three years of teaching experience, or
  • Other professionals with limited teaching experience.

Typically, after one to three years with BEAM, junior faculty are invited to return as full faculty. Please note that junior faculty salaries are lower, to allow us to provide additional training and support.

Salary

Salary is based on what courses you are teaching. Because some classes involve reviewing homework or have fewer curriculum materials developed, we vary the salary based on the estimated workload. For summer 2017, the salary rates for new faculty are:

  • Logic: $2400 for the summer.  [$2000 for Junior Faculty.]
  • Math Foundations: $2400 for the summer.  [$2000 for Junior Faculty.]
  • Math Team Strategies: $2400 for the summer.  [$2000 for Junior Faculty.]
  • Applied Math: $3200 for the summer.  [$2800 for Junior Faculty.]

We strive to pay our faculty well for their time, but we hope that you will see the program as we do: a labor of love that gives kids access to great mathematics. In total you may teach both a morning and afternoon class, allowing for salaries of $4000-$5600. Returning staff receive higher salaries based on the number of summers they have attended.

Supplies

We have a budget to purchase needed class supplies, as well as (low-cost) books for students to work out of. For example, you might want to teach a Logical Reasoning course out of a Raymond Smullyan book, or get Art of Problem Solving books for Math Team Strategies. We also can get a license for Mathematica, or other software (within reason).

We will have a printer available for as much printing as you need, and all students are provided with pencils, binders, and a backpack to use for BEAM.

Javier teaches number theory

 

How To Apply

The main part of the application asks that you focus on one of the main topics and describe a class that you would teach in that topic. You are welcome to teach more than one topic area during the summer, but please apply in just one. We will consider your application and then afterward you may express interest in other areas as well.

To learn more about the different topics and apply, just click the links below for the course that interests you.

Please note that if you do not live in New York City, you must have your own housing for the summer (we cannot provide it, although the salary is more than sufficient to arrange housing if needed). We do provide housing for BEAM 7 Faculty and if you live outside of New York, then we encourage you to apply for those roles!

Additional NOtes

If you're wondering if you're a good fit for the program, please contact us (info@beammath.org) to discuss your background.

We aim to provide strong role models for our students, and that means finding an instructional faculty that shares the background of our students as much as possible. Thus, we especially encourage applicants who come from underrepresented minority groups, applicants who have faced financial hardship while pursuing their education, and/or applicants who have experience in the New York City school system. We are an equal opportunity employer, and so persons of color, women, and those with disabilities are all encouraged to apply. Showing a diversity of mathematical achievement is critical to our program's success.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Successful applicants will proceed to an interview. If you are unsure of your summer plans, we encourage you to apply early and then work out the details with us afterwards. If you need a quick decision from us, apply and let us know of your constraints.

We are always available to answer any questions you might have, so please feel free to get in touch. We look forward to working with you this summer!

Sincerely,

Daniel Zaharopol
Executive Director
danz@beammath.org

Ruthi Hortsch
Program Manager
ruthi@beammath.org