After a long day at work, as teachers head home, Buffalo High School math teacher Marcia Bauman remains in her classroom helping kids get caught up from time lost during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the end of the 2022 school year, she will be leaving BHS after 16 years.
Before becoming a math teacher, Bauman was a software engineer for the Department of Defense.
“I worked on Electronics Security Command, at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas,” Bauman said. “We were doing graphics and training simulators for pilots…at United Defense and FMC up in Minneapolis, we worked on an army contract for the next generation howitzer. I did the Human Factors analysis, simulator, and training so they could identify how many troops they would need.”
After Bauman spent over a decade as an engineer, a serious family health issue triggered a change in her career path.
“My daughter became very ill, which is why I quit working as an engineer,” Bauman said. “I volunteered in the schools while she was in rehab. Then somebody I know contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in ever being a teacher and bringing the trade of engineering trade into the schools. I thought that was interesting, so I went to the [University of Minnesota] for their master’s program and became a math teacher.”
After two unpredictable school years with long stretches of Distance and Hybrid Learning models, Bauman noticed that students’ math skills were lagging behind. Without in-person instruction, Bauman said that little math was learned over Distance Learning. This year, the school offered an after-school math program led by Bauman to fill in gaps in understanding for full credit. Addysen Serafini ‘23 was involved in this program.
“I don’t have to worry about retaking [Algebra 2] next year because it’s not a class I want to retake, so she helped me with that,” Serafini said. “[Bauman] instantly would come up and explain everything. She didn’t wait or get frustrated with you if you asked a question. She changed my idea that all math teachers are grouchy”.
School activities causing students to miss out on classroom instruction only made catching up harder. This doesn’t stop Bauman from thoroughly teaching the absent students the lessons missed.
“[Bauman] was able to help me through my [softball] season and made time for me to come in before school,” said Mae Knoell ’24. “It was super cool how she adjusted to student’s schedules and how she was able to make time for all of us.”
Bauman’s extra effort was only a part of the job that brought her joy. The best part of being a teacher for her is much more than math.
“[My favorite part of teaching] is being able to build relationships with the students and getting to know them both as people, but then being able to see their growth and their success,” said Bauman.
As Bauman prepares to leave BHS, she gives one last piece of advice to students.
“Take care of yourself,” Bauman, “but work hard. Try to get as much as you can out of those classes. You’re gonna have good days and bad days, but push yourself to learn as much as you can so you can set yourself up for what happens after high school.”