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Realization about my math teachers - RonO's Ramblings

Aug. 28th, 2009 09:10 am Realization about my math teachers

Yesterday, after thinking about Derrick's first day in middle school (which wasn't bad -- his second day, however...), I started thinking about my own middle and high school days. During this, I came to a realization that was interesting now, but unnoticed at the time.

From sixth grade, through 12th grade, I had six different math teachers and five of them were Hispanic men. The one exception was my 10th grade geometry teacher, who was a white woman.

I also had at least one male Hispanic math professor in college, who happened to be the head of the department at UNM (or became head a few years later).

I'm sure that there is some cultural reason to explain this, but I'm not sure what it is.

For what it is worth, out of the 6 math teachers I had, only one was bad (9th grade Algebra) and one was marginal (7th grade math). The rest were all very good or great.

Interestingly, it is two of these teachers who I've heard about in the last several years. My 8th grade math teacher, Art Silva, who was also my 6th grade science teacher, was involved in starting a charter school in Albuquerque a few years ago. My 11th grade Algebra II (and post-sixth grade summer school computer teacher) Toby Herrera later served as a principal at another high school and is now an administrator with the Albuquerque Public Schools and is often quoted in news articles. (I even used a 3 day old article in the Albuquerque Journal to confirm the spelling of his name just now)

Now growing up, and to some extent until I thought about it yesterday, this didn't seem odd to me. In Albuquerque when I lived there at least half the population was, at least in name, Hispanic; and for the state it was probably a higher percentage. Most of these people have ancestors who lived in New Mexico back before the Mexican war, and the non-Hispanic, non-Native American population of New Mexico is mostly more recent.

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Date:August 28th, 2009 07:17 pm (UTC)
My 7th-12th grade math teachers were all white women. I didn't have a male math teacher until college, though there we several at my junior high and high schools.
Date:August 28th, 2009 07:42 pm (UTC)
I don't remember our 9th grade Algebra teacher as being all that bad. Or at least I didn't suffer in his class :)
Date:August 28th, 2009 08:25 pm (UTC)
I learned. The problem was that I didn't learn the way he did. I found doing 30 or 40 identical problems each night to be a waste of time, he thought it was necessary homework and graded it as such.

For Algebra II my solution was simple, write a computer program to do the 10 or 15 problems and then turn in both the program and the output. Having the person who taught me to program (for the most part) in the first place as my teacher didn't hurt.