MSTI | STAR
Name: Chidi Oduma
Graduation Term: Spring 2018
Major: Mathematics Education
CSI3 Undergraduate Program: MSTI STAR
Hobbies: Running, painting, reading, saving memes and laughing
What is your current status?
I am working as a math teacher. Since the start of my career I’ve taught three different contents: Pre Algebra, Algebra 1, and Geometry. This is my first year where I have 3 different preps and three different grades.
What do you enjoy the most about your current status?
What I enjoy most about teaching is watching my students grow—as mathematicians and as humans. Since I began teaching, I’ve been able to teach some of my students up to 3 years in a row. I have one student who is set on me being her only math teacher until she graduates. She even joked that she’d take me with her to college so she won’t fail. I reminded her that her success in my class is due to her perseverance in solving problems and commitment to seek help when needed. Not only do I get to deepen my relationships with students each year, I also get instant feedback of strategies that work and can monitor their effectiveness.
If you could give your junior/senior year self any words of advice what would you say?
This applies to my junior/senior self from high school and college: Have more fun and learn how to rest!!!! 1. What’s the point of working strategically to get the life you want if you don’t make time to enjoy it? You can find time to study for exams, you can find time to read books for class, and you can find time to build a strong resume, which means you can find time to do things YOU enjoy. 2. Your rest should not be a reward for the work you’ve put in; your rest is an essential part of self care. In the words of Audre Lorde, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare”. 3. Bonus: Say yes when people offer to help you. You may be able to do it yourself but you don’t always have to.
What has been one of the biggest lessons you have learned upon graduating?
No one prepares you for the grief you experience when you outgrow certain chapters of your life. You're just left knowing that your current space no longer serves you, even though you once dreamed of being there. Acknowledging that you want more out of life than what you currently have is the first step. The next step is working toward creating the new life that you want. Yes, it’s always bittersweet when chapters end but that just means there’s still room for a better story to be told.
What keeps you motivated and positive throughout life’s hardships?
I read a quote that said something like, “Be gentle with yourself because there was once a time where you prayed for the life you now have. Find joy in knowing that you are already living out one of your goals.” So when I feel like I’ve outgrown certain places, I’m reminded that I can recreate my reality. This helps me regain perspective on my life which brings me a lot of peace.
Is there anyone from the CSI3 program you would like to thank or give a shout out to?
I’d like to thank Dr. Duenas for telling me about CSI3 when she first learned I wanted to be an educator. She then connected me with Noemi Rodriguez who helped me get my first TA job through MSTI. Now I’m a CSI3 member for life! 😊
Updated on 11/16/21