Can math be considered a language?
If you asked Mr. Omari Grey, a new faculty member in Thurgood Marshall Academy’s math department, the answer would be a resounding yes. While some students may see math as a maze of numbers and equations, Mr. Grey views the subject “as a language no different than Spanish or German” and sees in it “the answers for the phenomena that we see in the world.” As Thurgood Marshall Academy’s Pre-Calculus and AP Calculus teacher, he says his goal is “to help students to learn the language of Mathematics.”
Mr. Grey comes to Thurgood Marshall Academy this year after spending 10 year living and teaching throughout the Middle East. After graduating from Christopher Newport University in Newport News, VA, Mr. Grey knew that he was “ready to travel abroad. My focus,” he says, “was to see the world outside of the U.S.” He had a “particular interest in learning the Arabic language and culture,” which inspired him to move to the Middle East. While abroad he “became a lot more independent, learned a new language, and gained more of an appreciation for my own culture and background as an African-American. My overseas experience also taught me to appreciate diversity.”
Moving to the Middle East also sparked Mr. Grey’s career as a math educator. He taught math throughout the region – in Yemen, Jordan, and Kuwait – before returning to the U.S. As a teacher, he built on inspiration from his mother, also an educator, and on previous experience working with youth: “I had a basketball coaching experience while in university that allowed me to work with 12-14 year olds.”
Beyond the classroom, Mr. Grey will be advising Thurgood Marshall Academy’s new Hip Hop 101 club, which explores the history of Hip Hop “not just as a musical genre, but as a dominating force in African-American culture. Students,” he says, “will be challenged to analyze Hip Hop in a new way.”
Of his experience at Thurgood Marshall Academy so far, Mr. Grey says “there is tons of support from colleagues,” and that he has a “good relationship with the students. I know this is where I belong.”