Essentials for a freelancing math teacher

I’m a math teacher and a graduate student. I don’t teach at a public school. Instead I teach at special programs for gifted children, or work with children individually. I guess that makes me a freelancing math teacher. It takes a lot of planning to juggle grad school and freelancing job, but I love both of them. Also, it helps to have the following essentials during the busy days when I have to go from grad school to teaching a class to working with students individually:

Fun and sturdy bag

My bag was born in Arizona. It’s spacious and it has survived several seasons of working at math camps and carrying my laptop everywhere.


My BIG black lesson plan book

I have a large black book where I gather the best lesson plans. I carry it with me to every class and sometimes my students get surprised when they don’t see it in my hands. Once I accidentally lost it and I was so upset. Luckily one of the very kind janitors took it and kept it safe till the next week for me.


Moscow Math Circles book by S. Dorichenko

This is a relatively new addition to my list of essentials. This book was given to me recently by the coordinator of Math Circles at UofT and I started carrying it with me everywhere. It has so many problems that are suitable for any age that I can pretty much open it on any page and instantly entertain my students with a fun mathy puzzle.

See the book here:


Day Planner

I don’t have a ‘typical’ schedule. Every day and every week is very different for me. But in general, during the week I work on my thesis and lesson plans during the day and teach in the evening. On the weekends I teach in the morning and afternoon [and on Sunday evening], and I try to do something fun on Friday and Saturday night. I try to keep my hectic schedule in check with a fun-looking day-planner.


Hot tea in a travelling mug

Teaching involves lots of talking. Hot tea is a great cure for a lost voice, and a pleasant way to warm up while travelling around the city.


Pencil case

I usually take lots of different color pens with me. They come in handy when writing comments on my students’ work, or just adding some color to my day planner.



I always carry a little owl in my pencil case. It cheers me up, and it cheers up my students – especially the younger ones. My friend gave it to me for my birthday last year and I haven’t parted with it ever since. 🙂


Cozy scarf

A scarf is a MUST, especially when you have to teach at several different locations on the same day and all of those locations have different temperatures.


Where are you guys working? What are your essentials for the day?

… if you speak Russian, you can listen to me telling about all that stuff on my new Youtube Channel at  на русском!







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