Q&A with Mr. A



 Q: Why did you choose this career path?

   A: I really like it! I’ve done many different things, but teaching math is more enjoyable, more fulfilling than anything else. It’s been great.

  Q: What about statistics was interesting to you?

  A: Statistics and I have an interesting relationship, as a math student. I have a love-hate relationship with it. Because from the beginning I’ve seen how you can pose interesting real world questions with the language of statistics, and then use the tools of statistics to answer those questions. And so that’s really my favorite part of the subject. But as a student when you’re actually doing statistics, a lot of the individual problems can be very tedious and just really boring. The subject is simultaneously very fascinating and has incredible real world application, but at the same time, it can be horribly boring. And so I know for my students, they’re like, ugh, we have more homework, and I know, I’ve been there! But it’s hard to understand the cool things without also going through the boring things.

Q: How long have you been teaching?

  A: This is my first year at Pinewood. In terms of doing full-time high school level teaching, this is also my first teaching job. While I was in grad school, I was teaching some undergrad math classes, so I have over a year of experience doing that. I have some student teaching experience and I’ve been doing tutoring for a very long time. So, lots of educational experience, but less formal classroom experience.

  Q: When did you start singing? Has it just been a lifelong thing?

 A: More or less. When I was in preschool, singing was part of the school curriculum. After that, I stopped. I picked it up again in high school, with choir and the a cappella group. From that point on, it’s been with gaps here and there, but I’ve essentially been continuing from then to the present.

Q: I heard you sang to one of your classes. Can you tell us more about that?

A: So, in AP Calculus, a week and a half ago, on Friday, Jan. 12, we did the proof of the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus, which is one of the key results for that course. And so after we finished the proof, at the very end of the lecture, one of the things that the theorem gets you is the answer to this certain problem that we’ve been working on. Involving finding the area of a curve, there’s a quick and easy way to get the answer using the theorem. Without the theorem, it’s a very long tedious calculation, where you have to divide that area into a bunch of tiny rectangles and add up the area of each rectangle. So, I had the students doing that very tedious, very boring method. And so, once we had the theorem, it’s supposed to be so great! I wanted to express how awesome it was that we no longer needed to do these problems the hard way, and that we had an easy way of doing it. So I thought “Hallelujah Chorus” would be appropriate. I made sheet music for the class, and then I had a speaker with the recording. I did most of the singing, but the students were also participating. I have some good choir and Take Note members in that class, and they were singing along as best as they could. So the idea was, they should never forget the theorem because that day in math class was so exciting and unexpected that they should remember it forever.