New math teacher Sarah Mepham has traveled the world to come to Watertown High
September 18, 2021
From Sudbury to South Korea to Sandwich and finally to Watertown, the new math teacher has seen it all.
Sarah Mepham, 26, began at Watertown High when school started this month, teaching Algebra 1 and Geometry.
“I absolutely love traveling,” she said in an interview this week. “I think experiencing brand new places, exploring new cities, and meeting new people is one of the most exciting things.”
Ms. Mepham has also visited Germany, Guatemala, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, and Switzerland. This summer, she went to Amsterdam and Idaho. Her favorite country to visit has been Japan.
I think it’s really cool that I have students who are bilingual or trilingual . . . they speak many different languages and they come from all over. They have a lot of different backgrounds and it’s a really exciting class.”
— SARAH MEPHAM on meeting her students at Watertown High School
“I loved Tokyo,” she said. “The people were really nice. The population is massive and it was all so just still organized and clean and peaceful, despite there just being so many people, so it’s just a nice place to be in. I also went to the countryside and the countryside is really nice.”
She grew up in Sudbury and loved math while growing up. She went to Lincoln-Sudbury High School and UMass Amherst, where she studied math and education.
She said teaching “kind of just happened — but I love it.” When asked what she loved most about it, she said her favorite part is “building relationships with students and watching them grow.”
After graduating in 2017, she spent a year teaching in Boston schools through City Year and then took a job teaching in South Korea. Ms. Mepham said she wanted to go anywhere and was friends with a director at a school who needed a pre-calc teacher.
She said she loved loved South Korea. She said she loved being able to experience a new country and culture that was different from what she was used to.
“Being able to go completely outside of my comfort zone was really special to me,” she said.
Her students were all fluent in English, and she picked up enough Korean to have basic conversations outside of school. She said she wanted to become fluent but couldn’t in the six months she was there. She would have stayed longer, but the school was closing.
“I would honestly enjoy teaching in any country, I loved South Korea,” she said. “I would love to maybe someday teach in a brand new country, specifically maybe someplace in South America because I’ve never been to South America and I’ve never been able to speak Spanish fluently.”
Being able to go completely outside of my comfort zone was really special to me.”
— SARAH MEPHAM on teaching math in South Korea
After she came back to the United States, she spent the last two school years teaching on Cape Cod, teaching in Sandwich.
“Compared to Sandwich, [WHS is] a little bit bigger and it’s definitely more diverse, which I love,” she said. “I think it’s really cool that I have students who are bilingual or trilingual, they speak many different languages and they come from all over. They have a lot of different backgrounds and it’s a really exciting class.”
Her new WHS students describe her as having a chill personality. She says she enjoys teaching at the high school level because the students tend to be more mature.
Ms. Mepham has a tattoo on her wrist that resembles a sine wave (without a Y-axis) as a reminder of a quote of her father’s about how life comes in waves.
She currently lives in Marlborough, but wants to live closer to Watertown, if not in the town, eventually. She has a cat named Nick she found at a shelter. Her hobbies includie running and yoga and she is working on her masters degree.
She said her first two weeks at WHS have been great.
“So far, I love working in Watertown, the students and staff are very kind and welcoming,” she said. “Everyone’s been so nice since I’ve been here, and helped me adjust to this new school.”
And she’s no hurry to leave, either.
”Despite my love for traveling, I do want to settle and I love Watertown, so I’m going to be here for the long term,” she said. “I would only leave to visit a different country, but I don’t have any plans to do that.”
(Story reported and written by Nabila Abenaou, Jenna Atiyyat, Izzy DeLorio, Toria Dicker, Leanna Dorian, Valerie Duong, Abby Hendrick, Fathima Perez-Cordero, Dayana Posada. Gina Rank, Adrian Schick, Adelle Sheynkman, Liliana Souza, Rylee Valstyn, Maria Vasques, and Adrianna Williams.)
–Sept. 16, 2021–