My name is Reza Khadem, and I was born in the southern city of Ahvaz, in Iran. I have lived in Houston with my wife and daughter since 1990s. Houston is the most diverse city in the United States, and I fit right in! My hobbies include the outdoors, loving the view of the ocean, the history of mathematics (science and human society), music, reading, road trips, and anything else that intrigues my human senses and mind!
|My Contact Information|
A little more about me
|High School years (1970s)|
My interest in teaching started in high school in Iran, where I tutored my friends. In Iran, the common wisdom was that if one did not major in math after 8th grade, then it would be hard to find jobs that paid well! I finished my high school majoring in math/physics in Esfahan, a historic city in central Iran. The Iran-Iraq war caused the closure of our high school where I was supposed to start 12th grade. I and all my siblings eventually left Iran.
|Immigration from Iran to Italy , 80s|
I left Iran, and traveled to Turkey, Switzerland, and eventually Italy, where I lived for about two years, and where I waited to join my sister in the United States.
|Getting my degrees in the U.S., 90s|
I finally ended up in the United States . I came to Houston, where my sister had settled years before. I went to a community college, and transferred to the University of Houston. At college, I tutored my classmates, and I became a TA when I was an undergraduate at the University Of Houston. I ran recitation classes for calculus courses. My recitation classes were always packed. After I got my B.S. in mathematics and a teaching certificate from the state of Texas, I decided to teach for HISD.
|Teaching in High School|
I started working for HISD, and taught AP Calculus and AP Statistics. My students scored 3, 4, or even 5 on AP exams. Our success in AP courses was due to the hard work of students themselves; I just provided them with the proper curriculum to be successful. I remember we did things like meeting in a McDonald’s restaurant near school on a Saturday to prepare for the AP Statistics and Calculus exams.
I decided to move up to community colleges. I left HISD, and accepted a position at San Jacinto College-central. I had started an adjunct instructor position at the Houston Community College when I was still at HISD. At HCC, I taught developmental courses, and I was working on my Master’s degree at the University of Houston taking evening graduate courses.
|Years of Teaching at Community Colleges|
I had to adjust to the, somehow, different environment at the Community College. I started reading more about cognitive science, and how mathematical (scientific) concepts are learned. I incorporated technology, class discussions, and motivational examples into my lessons.
At San Jacinto College-Central I regularly taught Statistics, Calculus I, Calculus II, Pre-calculus, Linear Algebra, College Algebra, and other math courses such as Finite Math, and Calculus III. The cognitive process of learning is fascinating to me. I think the role of the teacher is fundamental in the process of creating disequilibrium (the messing up of the old way of understanding) in a student’s mind, and helping the student to build a new equilibrium (the new way of understanding). I think teaching is an art. It is not easy to teach, but it is challenging, rewarding, and fun. I love to see concepts being conveyed to students, the process of learning in action. I believe in class discussion as a part of an environment conducive to learning. Other ways of creating a learning environment are possible, and have been implemented by many instructors. The key is to have an elaborate plan that takes into account what students know, what they need to learn, and how the process of assimilation and accommodation, as Piaget put it, are being used to create an equilibrium. In 2021, for many reasons, including changing my retirement account back to the Texas Retirement System, I resigned my position at San Jacinto College and accepted a position at Houston ISD. Teaching at Pin Oak Middle school has been a new experience for me because I had never taught 8th graders before! So far, it has been a great experience; the middle school environment offers unique challenges and opportunities for both teaching and learning processes, and I like new challenges! I describe myself as a philomath, someone with a genuine love of learning and a great passion for my chosen subject. This year, I am looking forward to lots of teaching and learning at Carnegie Vanguard high school.
I am interested in the history and pedagogy of mathematics, and have participated in many meetings of the HPM of Americas. I am also interested in math games and puzzles. I have invented a puzzle which is called ReZquare. You can see a video of it here , and what is left of its page on Amazon.com here.
Office Hours: During lunch and by appointment during lunch and SSEP
Telephone: (713) 732-3690