Growing up in India, Deepti Gupta realized the importance of education. She is a recent graduate and she tells us a bit about her background. “I was born in India and I lived in a small town called Allahabad it’s in Northern India and I moved here in two thousand with my family when I was thirteen and since then I have been in the San Francisco Bay area except for when I went down to University of California, San Diego to get my undergrad in Math and then I came back up here to go to Stanford University to get my teaching credentials and I just graduated from there a couple weeks ago,” she says.
“Now, I am just relaxing and preparing for full time teaching. It will be my first year teaching Math. I’ll be teaching ninth and tenth grade Algebra One and Geometry this year in Redwood City California.
Deepti is also one of the recipients of The Knowles Science Teaching Foundation or KSTF. She says although the selection process is rigorous she knows the fellowship will be of great support through her teaching career. “KSTF stands for The Knowles Science Teaching Fellowship and I was chosen through a rigorous process of letter recommendation, essays, transcripts, college transcripts and all that work and then an interview process which I flew off to Philadelphia for and it was a whole weekend long interview,” she says.
“This fellowship was established in 1999 to support, sustain and inspire high school science and math teachers that are just starting on their careers and that need a lot of support to stay in their career because approximately half of all secondary teachers leave the field within five years so the KSTF fellowship seeks to reverse the trend that is not just in the Bay area in California, but all of over the United States and they want to keep teachers in that field because it is so important and so that is why I decided to apply for the scholarship because I am a new Math teacher and I need that kind of support too,” she says.
Along with receiving pay from the school district where Deepti will teach in the fall, KSTF teaching fellows also receive tuition assistance of up to ten-thousand dollars per year for up to two years as well as a monthly stipend and financial support for summer professional development. Deepti says now, she wants to aspire her students. “My parents have always instilled the value of an education in me and my brother that it can help in social mobility, it can open up lots of opportunities in life and you won’t have to worry about what you are doing, your money and your family and everything if you get a good education and then a career,” she says.
“So that is why I became a teacher to help other students in the next generation. Also, I realize the value of education and how important it is to having a good life and my goal and hope for my students is to prepare them for jobs that probably don’t even exist right now, that they don’t even know about because we are a growing population and we create new opportunities for our students everyday and I also hope that my students become efficient communicators and logical thinkers and critical thinkers because that is what we need in this cut throat market and economy today.”
Deepti says she is committed to teaching mathematics in the United States high schools. Her advice to other students who may be considering teaching as a career after college. “Math and Science both are definitely important because it is not about the Pythagorean Theorem or the formula for the area of a triangle, but it is about the way you think. That’s what employers are looking for. They are looking for that edge if you have it. You know are you able to solve a problem. Are you able to think out loud or think outside of the box and that is what we as Math and Science teachers are trying to help our students do,” she says. “Who cares if you don’t have the area of a triangle memorized? Do you know what a triangle is? Do you know what area means? It’s the deeper concepts behind them is what is important,” she says.
“So, with my credentials from Stanford I am able to teach all levels of Math in high school up to Calculus, AB and BC and I enjoy Mathematics because it makes so much sense and we see it everywhere where ever we go in the world, so if anybody is thinking about teaching I would definitely encourage them to go to the website, its KSTF-dot-org and check it out and see if you want to apply if they would like this kind of support because it is wonderful and it is up to five years and then also talk to their teachers, talk to their professors and see what a day in their life is like if that is what they really want to do.”