After long nights and hours of frustration trying to figure out the math problems on your tear-stained paper, you decide it is time to get a little help. Finally, you find your answers at Mathnasium of Madison with junior Elsie Bradshaw ready to help.
Bradshaw has worked at Mathnasium of Madison for a little less than a year and this is her first job. She became interested in tutoring through her experience in math and love for helping others.
“For most of my school life, I’ve done pretty well in math class as well as on standardized math tests (star testing, scantrons, pre ACT) and my classmates often ask me for help,” Bradshaw said. “It’s so satisfying when I finally understand a concept and I love being able to help other people get that feeling.”
Bradshaw was at piano lessons the first time she heard about Mathnasium. While her brothers were having their lessons, she began talking with her parents about the possibility of getting a job.
“I didn’t know what kind of job I wanted to have, but I felt like I was wasting too much time after school. At one point, I mentioned that I would like to tutor math and they said I should apply to Mathnasium,” Bradshaw said.
Prior to employment, Bradshaw had to take a math test designed by Mathnasium. She passed the test and background check and was able to start in April of 2021. She also got paid to complete Mathnasium training online.
“I was extremely nervous during the interview, but was quickly assured and ecstatic when I found out I had gotten the job,” Bradshaw said.
Mathnasium typically tutors students in first through twelfth grade in algebra, geometry, trigonometry and precalculus. They provide Mathnasium curriculum as well as help with homework to make sure every student has what they need. Some of the most common concepts Bradshaw helps with are halving odd numbers, order of operations and factoring, but she also helps with any other questions.
“Younger students spend more time on Mathnasium Curriculum because they have less homework and Mathnasium wants them to really have basics down, but if they bring their homework, we’re happy to help with it,” Bradshaw said.
Being a current student, Bradshaw says balance is key to her ability to accomplish her work and school schedule. At Mathnasium of Madison, she does not have a set amount of hours every week creating flexibility for her school schedule. She works when she can and when she is scheduled.
“Tutoring does take time, but the hours are at a really good time for me. I don’t work too many, so I still have enough time to do homework and study as long as I prioritize,” Bradshaw said.
With math, She learned frustration can follow when trying to understand a new concept. When a student is feeling frustrated Bradshaw uses several methods to cope. Sometimes she will play a math themed game if a break is needed or she will try to explain the information in different ways. If the problem is prerequisite knowledge then she will make sure they understand that before teaching the frustrating concept.
“There’s always a reason for why a student is struggling or feeling frustrated. First, I try to rephrase it in a way that makes sense to the student or show them a different way to do the problem. I’ll draw out the scenario or use manipulatives (hands on objects used like coins, counters, etc) if I can,” Bradshaw said.
Although challenges inevitably arise, Bradshaw loves her job. It has always been her mission to help others learn and she is excited to get the chance to do exactly that. Bradshaw says her coworkers are fantastic to work with and create a fun environment, but she loves the students even more.
“I get to work with so many different ages and personalities and I love them all,” Bradshaw said. “I have had students ask me why on earth I love math so much, but I think that it is more that I love working with them.”