Ms. Astan Shares Her Story

Colby Abuhoff, MS Writer

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Each teacher at Somerset Canyons has a different background and a different story. Recently, Ms. Astan shared her story with us.

Born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia, she first moved to Florida in 2001 to attend college. She believed attending school in Florida would allow her to gain a better education, and that it would offer more opportunities. She also came to the United States because of the bad political system present at the time.

After enrolling in an American school, Ms. Astan noticed several differences between the Indonesian and American school systems. Some of these included that schools in Indonesia operated Monday through Saturday, and schools operated year-round. Students are also offered different types of classes that relate with the government, and classes that have several branches would all be discussed in one year; this was different from U.S. schools, where each year focuses on a branch of that subject.

Moving to the United States was no easy task. Several problems arose, one major issue being that she had to learn how to be independent. This entailed learning how to cook, and learning how to be on her own without anybody to assist her. Another major issue was that she needed to learn how to cope with being so far away from her family who had stayed behind in Indonesia. On top of that, Ms. Astan had to learn English, due to her primary language being Indonesian.

Despite facing these troubles, Ms. Astan thinks that this was the best time for her to move to the United States.

Many positive things came out her move to the USA. For instance, Ms. Astan was able to broaden her view of the world and gain new perspectives.

While in college, Ms. Astan originally intended to major in computer science, as she liked working with computers. However, she later changed her major to applied mathematics with a minor in pathways to teaching. She realized that she didn’t like trying to figure out what was wrong in the coding that she was working on. She chose to change her major to focus on teaching because while in college, Ms. Astan tutored several students in math. She ended up enjoying this a lot, influencing her enough to switch her major.

Later, Ms. Astan graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics and a minor in pathways to teaching, which certified her to teach math to 6-12 grade students.

While in Indonesia, Ms. Astan learned what she thought made a teacher to be considered good by most, such as “if the teacher can explain more, give a little bit [more] detail, and have patience with the students. [Also,] if they can connect with the students and have a relationship with the students,” she said.

She had gained this opinion after experiencing class with her grade three teacher in Indonesia.

Even though Ms. Astan has gotten her students to achieve some of the highest math test scores, Ms. Astan was not always the best in the subject, nor was it her favorite subject in school. However, she still managed to get through those struggles with perseverance.

“At the beginning, I was not a good person [when it came to math]. Math is just practice, practice, and practice. Once it clicks, you understand it, [and] it is so different. Don’t always think that you are not good at it, because [even] I was not good at it [once]. I was not an A-student with math when I went to school, but over a period of time, it helped me so much [by] understanding my mistakes little by little until I really [was able to] understand it,” she told the Somerset Sentinel.

Today, she still remains a math teacher as she has been since the school’s opening. Her classes include Pre-AICE Geometry, Pre-AICE Algebra I, and 8th grade intensive math.