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  • Writer's pictureThe Weekly Voice

Teacher of the Week: Mr. Walker

In RHS, there are lots of excellent math instructors. Many of them are the kind of teachers who go above and beyond to help children in need and strive arduously to improve students lives. In this Teacher Spotlight, we're going to talk about one of the most amazing, gregarious, and humorous teachers, Mr. Walker. He never gives up on his students and adores engaging with them. He loves to talk to you about anything and is quite affable.

Mr. Walker, a fantastic math teacher who teaches RHS students . This year, he started teaching calculus. He also serves as a math mentor and FTA teacher for juniors.

Personal life questions: 

Q: When and where were you were born?

A: I was born in February 28, 1992 in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Q: When growing up, what was your first dream career?

A: Honestly, it was pretty generic like lawyer, policeman, firefighter stuff like that because that was all I knew at the time. 

Q: What are your hobbies?

A: My hobbies, well besides making worksheets and packets for my job outside of that -- I like too workout, I tend to go to cycling classes, and a playing games.

Q: What college did you attend? What was your major? 

A: I attended Tuffs University. I was a math major but that was after I failed and I attempted to become a engineer major and a computer science major. I took classes my freshman year and it wasn’t the best but then I switched to math. 

Teacher Related questions: 

Q: Why did you choose Math? What’s so interesting about it?

A: Well Math was my favorite subject growing up. I loved numbers, I loved figuring out hard problems like a fawn memory I had was in first grade when I and a  friend used to compete to see who was the fastest to write 1-100 first. 

Q: Why is Math Fun? 

A: I LIKE NUMBERS. I like persevering through difficult problems and that feeling I get when solving difficult problems that trumps every frustration, annoyance that I felt prior. It's like that “Aha I finally get this!” That’s the part math I love.

Q: You’re a new AP Calculus teacher this year. How does it feel to teach this course? 

A: Stressful. The teacher I replaced was one of the best teacher we had -- Ms. Cronin. She actually received “Teacher of the Year” back in 2015 or 2016 and I’m already stepping into big shoes. My co-teacher, Ms. Szymanski, she's been teaching calc for 30 years. How can I compete with that, how can I compare myself to that? So, like it was daunting because one I’m filling in a legend, a math legend at the high school and I’m working with another legend and I'm just a small insect walking into a big field and that’s been challenging with calc. I love it because the students are very understanding and they work with me but at time I wish I was better. So, it’s that constant struggle.

 Q: How do you feel about teaching different students each year ? Do you feel anxious, nervous, excited?

 A: I feel everything. Before the first day I’m nervous because I don’t know how they’ll react to me, react to math, or school in general. Students act differently depending on the class. I may have students who are very talkative -- or vocal lets say English but in math, they shut down or they can be vocal in math but quiet in other subjects. So, it’s a bit of a beginning. But towards when they come in and I chat with them, it turns in excitement because I get to see them, I get to engaged with their strength and weakness and I think of new ways to address and accommodate those weaknesses and enhance their strength. 

 Q: How do you control your temper if a student passes a personal comment or argues aggressively?

 A: Uh… that’s a hard one not going to lie. But honestly at the end of the day, we’re all humans. We have emotions, we have feelings, and we need to be cautious of that. But if I do lose my temper I apologize maybe not the moment after when things are being heated or chaotic but maybe like the next day I check in. I walk them outside, and I apologize if I did  anything out of line. Like the other day a student in my fourth period was doing his Do-Now and he wrote I’m not going to try to do it I don’t know it and I kinda lost my temper. But I worked with him on getting it. And then I talked to him a little bit after class and he was like “Mr. I’m fine” -- I needed that clutch. You just have to play it case by case because each student is different and they react to different situations differently. 

Q: What do you do to control your stress? 

A:  What don’t I do, I honestly don’t, especially this year teaching new classes, calculus for the first time. I’m mentoring three new math teachers and I’m in my second year of my administrating program so I’m constantly stressed but sometimes I treat myself by ordering out, going to a favroite restaurant, or I do take a chunk of time two hours maybe even more and I just focus on myself. I listen to music, I play games, I watch streams on Twitch, I do stuff like. Anything to realize that stress and that worry. I also do anime club in the school in my room B9. 

Q: Looking back, what advice would you give to yourself in your first year of teaching?

A: “To not be so hard on yourself” Yeah, that’s my biggest weakness, I’m too hard on myself. One mistake that I make and it tears me up on the inside because I know my students they want me at my best and if I’m not on my best it hurts me. Yeah, “not be so hard on yourself” and make those boundaries. Just make boundaries, because if you don’t make boundaries this job, this career can overtake you. When you have family and kids and other responsibilities you can’t devote all your time to this career no matter how much you want too.

Reflection / Conclusion questions: 

Q: What are you most proudest of? 

A: Well one of my most proudest moments is graduating from college I was the first in my family to do that. And just making it you know like everything I have I work my butt off to get my apartment, my vehicle, the career that I have here. Like those on my wall are alot of thank you cards from the kids I taught over the years and just getting to see the praise and thank you, it warms me. So that is definitely a proud moment. 

Q: Can you tell me about a moment when a person's kindness made a difference in your life?

A: Without a doubt my sophomore year of college, college was rough from for me. I came from a school similar to Revere low income, low fundings, and you know I wasn’t truly pushed as a student. So when I went to college, when I went to Tuffs I couldn’t keep up with that riger it was something I wasn’t use to. It was studying everyday, working every night, home work everynight and the pacing. I struggled freshmen year. And I actually got a letter from Tuffs in my freshmen year in the summer telling me I need to do better or I will be kicked out of the school. I was on social probation. So sophomore year I had to try harder otherwise I may jeopardize my enrollment. So I was in Calc 2 and I did all I could. There were two exams and in Tuff the exams matter. The homework didn’t. So I got a D on the first test and maybe a C- or F on the second test. And I was freaking out because I couldn't effort to get a bad grade. So one day I decided to go to my professor and said “I need help here” and she showed me extreme kindness. She made sure I was in her room everyday waiting till the final and she worked with me. Until I was at a point where I passed the final and passed the class with a C-. And she stayed with me because at that point in time I needed to find an advisor who would work with me throughout my last two years and she volunteered to be my advisor. She gave me connections with other students who tutored me occasionally in the higher level math courses that I took in my time at Tuffs like she was the reason I graduated or else I wouldn’t have. And at the end of my fours years she gave me a trumpet because I told her I played trumpet back in high school and you know that was extreme kindness. When I reached out to her she gave me her world, she really helped me to be successful and thats primary model of a teacher that I aspire to be like. That’s why I constantly push kids and tell kids to come if you need anything just let me know I’m here for you. I want to show a student what my professor showed me. 

Q: How do you want people to see you as a person? (Not just as a teacher but as a friend, relative, or lover.) 

A: I want people to see me as myself. My quirky, quiet self. I just have a unique personality like sometimes I’m vocal or silly other times I’m very serious or layed back quiet but I just want people to know they can come back whenever and I’ll be there. That goes for everyone. 

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