Learning Math is Hard, but Having a Good Teacher Makes it Easier.


Auzy, Journalist

Capital High School’s math department is certainly one to be proud of. Our teachers are skilled and well-qualified! These are both facts, and yet, why is math one of, if not the most, failed subject at Capital?

Math as a subject is obviously a difficult one and having a good teacher both makes the learning of it more enriching and enjoyable as a student. Yet again it’s still one of the hardest subjects. The whole dispute around some people being ‘math people’ and some not is just a stigma. So how are the students of Capital with math?

I interviewed 2 students and a teacher, well as did a survey with others on who their favorite teacher is and why, as well as their least favorite and why. When it came to the reasoning behind people’s favorite teacher, the cause was consistently two main reasons. As well as their reasoning for their least favorite being the same.

Given this article talks about favorites and least favorites, teachers will not be named. Students and teachers will be referred to by their name for students or teacher A for teachers \so forth. During my interview with Keoki Seki, I asked them the same questions as the ones on my survey. Who is your favorite teacher and why? “Teacher A is.” Why? “Well the teacher does a great job of building a community in their classroom, and they actually seem like they want to be here.” Teachers have a lot to do as it is, but there are teachers that don’t show the passion they have and just slog throughout the day saying the same things with no enthusiasm. This damages the relationship between student and teacher. When a teacher doesn’t show that they want to be there they make it hard for the student to want to be. Who is your least favorite teacher? “Teacher B.” Why? “It’s hard to really say because I only had them during quarantine so nothing is really their fault.”

Quarantine was hard for everyone. Being at home and surrounded by distractions made it hard to even join the zoom meetings. For Molly Cook, they had only ever had one math teacher here at capital so they couldn’t weigh in much on who their favorite or least favorite was. The teacher I interviewed was the one who people said was their favorite most for the survey. I asked them about themselves and why they personally felt like they were so well-loved by students. “Building a community is something very important to have a classroom that’s inviting and fun to be in. Having students get to know each and strengthen the community is vital to a happy classroom.” I then asked them their own opinion of the 80/20 grade split. “I feel comfortable with it, ya know having that grade split may make homework worth less but it means it’s more important to study for tests. Without that split then students would just copy off one another before class.” This does make sense, of course, people who don’t do the homework fail the test because they didn’t do it or just didn’t study. While it does make homework feel more pointless it does make studying more important. 

Finally, I asked what they thought made learning easiest for students. “Being comfortable is what makes learning easier, being in an environment where you understand you can make mistakes and learn from them makes learning more enjoyable and easier to do all around. Having a sense of humor is important as well, it shows the students you are human, and I think that’s one of the most important things.”

The two things that students said most when asked for reasoning behind their favorite teacher was that the teacher had a sense of humor and personality. 

The thing students want most from their math teacher is someone who wants to be there, someone who has a sense of humor, and someone who’s human. The point of this article is not to name names or “cancel” any one teacher, but to instead tell teachers what their students want to see. Hopefully reading this will make some teachers think about how they present themselves or how they could improve their classroom environment so it becomes a place students want to be.