High school math teacher in the morning, college math professor in the evening.
That’s the professional life of Yumika Akiba. She teaches math to high schoolers at Pathways Middle College on campus.
She also teaches College Prep Math, College Algebra and Precalculus at OCCC.
The opportunity of teaching at Pathways came when her international visa was about to expire, Akiba said. Akiba is from Japan and came to Oklahoma with a family member when she was about 7 years old.
As an international student, she graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma.
A former Pathways teacher told Akiba that there was an open position in mathematics and she got hired in 2011.
Akiba said she struggled with math as a young girl, until the right teacher turned the light on in her head.
“Until 9th grade I couldn’t add or subtract,” said Akiba. “My high school math teacher told me ‘you can do it, if you try.’
“From that point I believed her and I believed her all the way through my master’s degree,” Akiba said, laughing. Something that Akiba learned from her teacher that she applies to her own teaching is using different methods.
“Teaching one method does not mean that the next class will understand the same method so I have to teach a different method,” she said.
Akiba has been teaching math at Pathways for five years. She said all of her students put a lot of effort into the course and she always is told how they love her class. Akiba teaches 60 students each day.
Former students Nikki Brower and Hannah Geeslin describe Akiba as a supportive and nice teacher.
“She’s happy all the time and always has a nice attitude,” said Geeslin, a freshman at Pathways.
Taking End of Instruction Exams (EOIs) is a requirement to graduate from Oklahoma City Public Schools. Akiba and all the other teachers prepare their students by having one week of what they call “boot-camp,” studying the EOI during school time.
“With motivation, and time management, my high school students can be successful in college,” Akiba said.
Akiba’s classroom is located on the third floor of the Main Building.