Whether it be his role as a Third Form advisor, his help facilitating IC Day, or his famous (or perhaps infamous) part in instituting ranked-choice voting, math teacher Mr. Nathan Bridge has undoubtedly impacted the school community. As he prepares to leave for a new position at Abington Friends School, Mr. Bridge reflected on his five years spent teaching here.
Having taught Algebra I, Geometry, Calculus I, and Precalculus*, Mr. Bridge has interacted with a significant portion of the community. Through all of his memories, the relationships he has formed remain incredibly important to him.
“I think I’m most proud of the relationships I was able to form here.”mr. nathan bridge
“I think I’m most proud of the relationships I was able to form here,” Mr. Bridge said. “And that’s not just a ‘me thing’—that’s like an ‘us thing.’ Like when I walk around the halls and see so many people I feel so close to, whether that be my colleagues or students I taught—it’s a really good feeling to feel so connected in this space.”
In addition to community relationships, Mr. Bridge values the logistical aspects of his teaching position. As a member of the math department, Mr. Bridge has helped shape part of the math curriculum.
“I’m really excited about the new math curriculum that we use,” Mr. Bridge said. “When I first got here and first got signed to teach Algebra I, [the class] didn’t really have a curriculum, and we weren’t quite sure what to do with it. This particular curriculum, which I taught at a previous school, was one that I had in mind to try out with my class, and I think it went pretty well.”
With positive remarks from both students and faculty, the curriculum’s benefits are clear.
“If you talk to students who took that Algebra class with me, you start to get really positive feedback,” Mr. Bridge said. “So many members of the department have also seen the same things that I have in that curriculum, and I hope they’re loving their teaching as much as I do when I teach this curriculum. And so I’m really happy to have found a home for that curriculum here at this school.”
In addition to his role as a faculty member, Mr. Bridge has learned quite a bit during his time here. As an all-boys school, Haverford obviously provides a unique teaching experience. For Mr. Bridge, teaching in this environment for five years gave him a nuanced perspective on what it means to teach boys.
“I’ve met so many students who display really beautiful characteristics that society traditionally defined as being feminine, like, for example, maybe being contemplative, reflective, or supportive rather than being affirmative or initiative-taking. That really opened my eyes to this world of teaching boys in a much more nuanced and colorful way.”mr. nathan bridge
“When you come to a single-sex education, what you begin seeing here is that the traits that you normally associate with ‘boy’ become really disrupted and made much more complex,” Mr. Bridge said. “I’ve met so many students who display really beautiful characteristics that society traditionally defined as being feminine, like, for example, maybe being contemplative, reflective, or supportive rather than being affirmative or initiative-taking. That really opened my eyes to this world of teaching boys in a much more nuanced and colorful way.”
Ultimately, Mr. Bridge’s engagement with the community was a great experience for him.
“There’s nothing I’m lacking or missing here in the teaching or learning sense that I’m leaving somewhere else to get,” Mr. Bridge said. “I feel like this has been a pretty sweet gig.”
“Only for personal reasons that I ultimately want to go [to Abington Friends School],” Mr. Bridge said. “I never get a ‘Sunday feeling’ before a week. At the end of every long break, I’m always really excited to just come back into the building and continue working with students.”
Being both a coed school and three blocks away from his house, Abington Friends simply is more convenient for Mr. Bridge.
“Two of the very strong personal reasons I’m going to Abington Friends, in addition to the fact it has a very lovely teaching and learning community, is the fact it is so close to my house, and my daughters can go there,” Mr. Bridge said.
At Abington Friends, Mr. Bridge plans to teach similar math topics and hopefully bring his unique experiences with him. As his last few days at Haverford go by, Mr. Bridge is working on fine-tuning his contributions to ensure they remain a part of the community.
“What I would hate not to leave behind is something I contributed to modestly here that other people found beneficial but, because I left, it is hard to keep going and stops,” Mr. Bridge said. “And so to that end, I’m really focused right now in the next couple of days is just making sure that anything anybody wants, whether it be ranked-choice voting or IC Day stuff or something else, gets duplicated and redundancies are built in so this kind of stuff can live on, and so that I can feel like I meaningfully contributed to a project the community had rather than it being ‘my project’.”
As Mr. Bridge departs and the community bids him farewell, he acknowledges the little moments that make Haverford special.
“I think what makes this space special is the fact you can walk around and make connections on such a personal level.”mr. nathan bridge
“I think my favorite Haverford memories as a genre, at least in Wilson Hall, are when I see a student I’m currently teaching or one I taught and they just pop in [my room], and we chat for a little bit,” Mr. Bridge said. “I think that’s what really gives the day vibrancy. I think what makes this space special is the fact you can walk around and make connections on such a personal level.”