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Bahat inspires students to apply math to real life

St. Martin’s Episcopal School welcomed Upper School Math Teacher Aleksandar Bahat to the community this semester. He teaches Advanced Math II, Calculus, Honors Multivariable Calculus, and AP Statistics.

Born and raised in New Orleans, Bahat attended Isidore Newman School. Since he can remember, he has wanted to pursue a career in mathematics.

“Once I got older and finished college and everything, I realized I wanted to take it in a teaching direction,” Bahat said. “I realized at some point that I really liked unpacking and unraveling these concepts that I was learning about, as well as explaining them to other people.”

After graduating from Newman, Bahat studied at Princeton University and later Tulane University, where he double majored in mathematics and philosophy.

“Math, for me, was always a no-brainer,” Bahat said. “Philosophy was a bit of a curveball for me. It was a side interest of mine. I had plenty of credits left over, so it was just something fun to do.”

Bahat has long been familiar with St. Martin’s, because he swam in high school for Crescent City Swim Club, a club team that practices at the school.

Adding a new teacher to the community halfway through the school year, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, has been difficult. However, Bahat has proven to be a great match for the school with a thorough method of teaching. Senior Hunter Richardson was one student who was asked to sit in on a sample lesson during the interview process.

“It was clear from his lesson that his teaching style incorporates the idea that mathematics is a subject that builds off of every concept you learn,” Richardson said. “We left the room with… a better understanding of the class.”

Bahat acknowledged the difficulties that this year brings with COVID-19, including his starting in the middle of the school year; however, he feels he and his students have already built a connection.

When not teaching, Bahat is an adventurous traveler. Last summer, he swam in freezing cold waters at Iceberg Lake in Glacier National Park in Montana.

“It’s one of those things like, you’re there, I don’t know when else I’ll get to do something like that, so you know, just had to try it,” Bahat said.

Bahat revealed his two favorite things about St. Martin’s: the teachers and the students. Having been able to sit in on other teachers’ classes before the semester started, he was impressed with their teaching styles and their desire to help the students learn. He also appreciates students’ enthusiasm in the classroom.

“The students have made my job a lot easier,” Bahat said. “I’m used to trying to teach math to people who don’t really want to do it, but even if math isn't their favorite thing, my experience has been that the students here try.”

Though he has only been here a few weeks, Bahat already has plans for the future. He is contemplating starting a math club and is interested in helping coach the swim team one year. Bahat also hopes to imbue his students with a love for math and help them realize it is not just something found in a textbook, but has worthwhile real world applications.

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