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Engineering the Best Learning Experiences

Lauren Corrigan works with one of her students.

Lauren Corrigan, Upper School math and computer science teacher (as well as assistant varsity cross country and track coach), just wrapped up her fourth year of teaching at Cincinnati Country Day School. Read below to find out what she likes to do outside of work (spoiler alert: it’s not math), what she likes about working at Country Day, and what her favorite thing to teach is (spoiler alert: it is math).

I was working as a civil engineer in Seattle, Washington…and was looking for a way to get back into teaching, having done it previously at the K12 and university levels, and move closer to home as I am originally from Columbus, Ohio. I stumbled across the Country Day job posting for an Upper School mathematics teacher and decided to apply. I had only ever taught computer science and engineering courses so I thought getting an interview would be unlikely. I feel incredibly fortunate that the faculty and administration here were willing to give me a chance!

My favorite thing about this community is…the constant support I see and receive every day. The math department is a close-knit group, and I feel like I can count on any one of them to help me if needed, whether it’s covering a class or brainstorming new ways to teach a specific concept. But that support extends even beyond a single department. All the faculty and staff here are interested in collaborating and are willing to jump in to help in a pinch. It is truly remarkable. And that spirit extends to our students. I am amazed by the student turnout I see at sporting events and theater performances. Everyone is genuinely invested in seeing each other succeed.

My alarm clock and a strong cup of coffee…get me out of bed every day but I enjoy coming to work because I find my job incredibly fulfilling. I loved what I did as an engineer, but it still always felt like a job. Teaching is something I am passionate about; it feels more like a calling. And while, like any job, there are good days and bad days, teaching is an incredibly rewarding experience. As a teacher, I feel like I have the opportunity to positively influence someone’s life each and every day, and that makes the 6:00 a.m. alarm clock more than bearable.

Contrary to what some of my students may think…I don’t solve math problems or code for fun during my free time. I’m an avid reader; I probably average a couple of books a month and will regularly finish a book in a single weekend, sacrificing sleep in order to do so. I also enjoy doing anything that will get me outside, especially when the weather is nice. I enjoy hiking, cycling, and running. I recently ended a running streak during which I ran at least one mile a day for 111 days. The streak helped me get out and run even in the winter when running conditions are less than ideal.

I love teaching…calculus. I enjoy the subject itself, but it is also the first time that students get to see all the math they have learned over the previous years really come together. Suddenly it is clear why they had to learn the unit circle or understand asymptotes. While it is satisfying for students to finally see how all the pieces of their math curriculum fit together, it is also what makes calculus so difficult. On top of learning new material, students are also expected to recall all the math they have learned over the years. But I think the challenge is part of what makes calculus so fun…and yes, I recognize only a math teacher would say calculus is “fun.” I enjoy the intellectual challenge of calculus and I also like trying to figure out the best way to teach the material. I collaborate regularly with the other calculus teacher, Greg Faulhaber, to try and come up with new approaches that we can apply in the classroom to help students better understand the material. The level of difficulty surrounding the subject is part of what makes it so rewarding to teach.

Lauren, her husband, and her dog all posing for a photo.