Fast Chat: Retired Cutchogue teacher pens math book


Former Cutchogue teacher Nancy Brush may not want to share her opinions on Common Core, but she’s continuing to help students understand the rigorous new standards. 

The former math teacher has written her first workbook, “6th Grade Common Core,” which was published last month by the Topical Review Book Company.

Although Ms. Brush retired from teaching five years ago, she’s worked for the last decade as proofreader for Topical Review and has continued tutoring local students of all ages in math. Before becoming a teacher, she was an accounting manager for Long Island Savings Bank for 20 years.

“I love math and do it all the time,” said Ms. Brush. “When they approached me about the book — it was thrilling to me. When you’re good at something, you like doing it.”

We interviewed Ms. Brush about her new book. Here are some excerpts.

Q: How did your book deal come about?

A: I was hired from this company as a math proofreader. They have so many books that they had to redo because of Common Core. All the book companies nationwide had to change all of their books to tie into the new standards. The owner asked me to start with the sixth grade book. I started in February and finished it in May.

Q: What are your thoughts about Common Core?

A: I’m not going to give my opinion on Common Core — there’s a lot of controversy with it. So, if it’s gone tomorrow, they’ll just ask me to write a new book based on the new standards. To complete a three-hour Regents [exam] used to take me about 20 minutes. I would take it because I tutored it. Now with the Common Core, it will take me two hours to do a Regents. That’s how difficult it is.

Q: What was challenging about writing this book?

A: Coming up with different word problems and tying them into the standards, because the level at which the sixth grade is to be now is at a higher level than it was years ago. I taught sixth-grade math for five years and this is so much harder now.

Q: Did you have fun coming up with word problems?

A: It was fun to make it personal. I put the names of my daughters in some of the word problems. I also included all of their cousins and friends.

Q: What’s next for you?

A: The publishing company is coming out with math workbooks for seventh and eighth grades this year. I didn’t write them, but I’m proofreading them. I’m also in the process of writing an elementary school math book that has a story line. Instead of a how-to book, this will explain to younger kids why we need math. That’s going to be a fun one.

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