Standing in front of the class, the teacher put on her black rectangular glasses and began to write with a red pen on the transparent slide that was projected behind her.
“I’m excited to see you guys,” said Mehrdokht “Melody” Rashidian, as she greeted the six rows of students sitting down in front of her with their math textbooks laid out on their desks.
Rashidian is one of the new full-time faculty members at Pierce College. She got her bachelor’s degree in mathematics in her country of origin, Iran, and decided to move to the United States for political reasons.
“I came here because I wanted to be free to express my feelings and my ideas,” Rashidian said.
She started teaching mathematics in the year 1998 at California State University, Northridge after she obtained her master’s degree in mathematics from there as well.
Even though she had declared her major in math at the age of 16, it was after tutoring fellow students at CSUN that she knew she wanted to become a teacher.
“I fell in love with the logic of mathematics, and it became my personality,” Rashidian said.
In the year 2005, Rashidian was hired at Pierce College as an adjunct professor of mathematics and just became a full-time teacher last semester.
Rashidian currently teaches a calculus for business and social science class (Math 238) and two statistics classes (Math 227).
In her classes she incorporates the use of social media through a private Facebook group page, using it to communicate with her students more frequently. On this page she includes class notes, test samples, updates and even a tutorial on how to use the scientific calculator she requires for her class.
She is also considering opening a Twitter account in the future as well as concentrating on more one-on-one sessions with her students in order to help them succeed.
Sarai Muñoz, a healthcare administrations major in Rashidian’s statistics class, says that Rashidian’s teaching style has helped her view the subject in a different way.
“She explains everything thoroughly and actually makes math easier by going step by step. She’s very understandable,” Muñoz said. “This is my second time taking this class and I think I’m going to pass this time.”
Edouard Tchertchian, an associate professor of mathematics at Pierce College who is also the mathematics specialist at the Center for Academic Success, happens to be one of Rashidian’s former students.
Tchertchian said that Rashidian made a difference when he was in her Differential Equations class back in the year 2006.
“She inspired me to go on with math education and become a math instructor,” Tchertchian said. “I loved how personable she was and how she cared for us as students and she spent the time and effort to teach us.”
He recommended for students to choose her as their instructor because of her passion for teaching, as well as her caring personality.
“She’s always fun to talk to and is very easygoing; you can strike a conversation with her about anything,” Tchertchian said.
In her spare time Rashidian also enjoys swimming, working on arts and crafts, going to concerts, and listening to soft rock as well as Bruno Mars. She said she couldn’t see herself doing anything else for a living other than teaching math.
“They keep me alive,” Rashidian said. “It is a very rewarding job.”