If you ask most of the students on campus, they probably wouldn’t tell you that math was either their best or favorite subject. If any of these students have been to the learning center for math, chemistry, biology, statistics or medical math, Carleen Mumaw has probably tutored them at one point. Mumaw has been teaching in the classroom and the learning center at SLCC for just under a year, and her students have already noticed her love of teaching.
“It never felt like I was in class,” says Clarissa Minson, a student who was in her first class. “It was more like a study group type thing.”
Mumaw keeps the tone of her class light, alleviating the stress that is usually experienced by those who struggle in math. Laughter can usually be heard from her classrooms as she cracks jokes about herself and different math problems.
“I love my job. I love teaching. And it took me a long time to find that, but I like to come to work,” Mumaw says. Before she came to Utah, Mumaw was a chemist for the air force at San Jose State University. Later she ran an educational co-op for over 200 families in South West Missouri. But the first real class she taught was here at SLCC three semesters ago.
“It was stupid-early in the morning, everyone was fairly engaged. It was special not only because it was my very first class but it was the only class I had that brought treats,” says Mumaw, ” It was a trip. I started a ritual for me. On the day of the final I always bring doughnuts.”
Students also wore Halloween costumes and exchanged Christmas cards while in her class.
Minson says Mumaw was absolutely fantastic and very good at keeping students awake at 6:30 a.m.
Currently teaching Math 920 and 950, she keeps the class engaged with no-nonsense explanation, step-by-step instruction on how to do the problems, and a seemingly infinite supply of patience for anyone falling behind.
Mumaw’s favorite thing about teaching is having people get the problems and seeing the light turn on. Mumaw does everything she can to get students lights to turn on. “Some people put up walls you can never get through. If you’re a closed minded student it’s hard to teach. If you have an open mind, you learn better.”