Hi, I’m Mashael Fakhro. I am a math mentor with a BA in Applied Mathematics from Harvard University (2011), with a background in Math IB HL at Bahrain Bayan School. I teach math using creative, engaging and compassionate methods inspired by math educator Jo Boaler, founder of the platformyoucubed.org.
I mentor math at the rates below. If you’re curious about my method and what drives me, please read further.
Primary School: BD 15/hr
For primary students, I ask that adult/nanny accompaniment is available on demand to attend to their needs during sessions.
Middle School: BD 20/hr, or package of 4 sessions for BD 72 (BD 18/hr) valid for 3 months
High School (currently not including IB or A-levels): BD 25/hr, or package of 4 sessions for BD 92 (BD 23/hr) valid for 3 months
Location: My residence or online unless otherwise specified
Timings: 4:45-5:45pm, Sun-Wed or 11am weekdays and Saturdays
Please contact me via this form for bookings based on availability.
For me, growing up, math was:
Puzzles I enjoyed the challenge of solving
Concepts that blew my mind (like multiplying two negative numbers!)
The pleasure of deep flow states while focusing on problems
The gift of using and sharpening my mind
As I grew older, and the content got tougher, math brought out in me:
Determination, endurance, the ritual of showing up to the assignments of the day, almost daily
Rising up to the challenge (“Ok, I have a few hours to sit down and try to understand vectors… I can do this.”)
The joy and surprise of finding that my training has allowed me to solve problems that seemed new to me.
The awe and wonder at concepts, numbers, and the magic of how we could solve problems of such complexity if we follow a step-by-step approach.
And as math got harder, in college:
The frustration at problems being way beyond my comfort zone, asking me to make leaps to corners of my mind for which I hadn’t built bridges.
The discipline, of showing up, rising up to the challenge, by attending office hours, asking for help, or self-study.
The pride arising from knowing I’ve tried my best, learning, developing mental skills, feeling strong and capable. The humility of asking for help when needed.
Unlocking access to even greater mysteries and joys in math, reflecting great mysteries in the world and life itself.
Math is the language of the universe. It is the “study of abstract patterns”, and patterns are everywhere, even when we don’t notice them, like when people try to fit all their stuff into a suitcase tightly enough to close it. To have the confidence to approach math with an open mind gives people access to use patterns and problem solving in their daily lives, whether in professions, or in deciding how much food to cook for a party.
Math training strengthens parts of our mind just as physical training strengthens our bodies. For me, math has made logical reasoning a part of my life that I use to make life choices or to understand which beliefs and values are important to me, giving me ground to stand upon. I use it to plan my life – from planning trips, to budgeting, to finding ways to achieve my goals by breaking them down into steps, to figuring out how I can carry a lot of stuff downstairs in two hands in the morning.
Most importantly, math is intuitive. As math educator Jo Boaler states, it’s as intuitive to us when we drive, dance, or play sports (calculating angles when driving, or counting steps and rhythm while dancing), as it is to spiders, as they spin webs using “logarithmic and then arithmetic sequences”. It is not a skill we have to impose on ourselves, it is an innate ability that we strengthen in order to serve us.
But just like every other challenge we face, it needs to be something we are able to meet, otherwise we turn away in frustration, boredom, anxiety, overwhelm, bringing about our insecurities and creating a negative association with the challenge itself, and making us believe we are “not good” at it.
My role is simple, then: understanding what the student or client is struggling with, making the challenge simpler so that he or she can meet that simple challenge, and building up the challenges from there. While doing this, I engage the student emotionally, such as asking them to count their toys or objects in the room (for younger students), honoring and holding space for their frustrations and responding with problems that meet them where they’re at, and paying attention to their math curiosities even when they’re beyond the curriculum to nurture that sense of wonder in math. All of this reminds me to be centered in the bigger picture: math educators are not here to impose something so abstract on students and judging them if they lose interest or focus, but are here to accept them as they are, wherever they’re at, and create a safe space to playfully “practice” math just as we would practice basketball. Luckily, the format of one-on-one work with students gives us the time and space for this practice.
Like all change, this kind of change is foundational and can take time. It is not memorizing tricks to solve problems quickly, without grasping what we are doing (what is a thousand anyway? and for older students — how do we make sense of a statement like ‘the universe has hundreds of billions of galaxies’?). It is developing skills like “number flexibility”, so that in the real world, when we’re trying to split a restaurant bill, we can move through that experience with ease, making it easier to manage our lives. Most importantly, it is building confidence and willingness in students to meet challenge math offers, knowing that math can be enjoyable, and that support is there when it gets difficult.
If you are interested in sessions for kids or adults, please use this form to submit your details and I will get back to you within 48 hours.