Changes in the math department

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Makayla Premo

Students learning a new lesson in Algebra 1 class.

As Perry High School students adjust to the change in classroom settings and available learning tools, math seems to remain to be a main issue in most high schoolers. The math department at Perry has experienced some difficult times, as the changes in in-person classroom settings have drastically changed. 

Many teachers are trying to teach as normally as possible, however, due to the abnormally long class periods and changes with math content, it is harder to achieve. A Perry High School math teacher, Melissa Lu, explains the changes and how she is handling it. Lu teaches pre-calc, algebra 2, and honors algebra 2. She expresses how much more difficult teaching math is when she cannot teach the same ways she did in previous years. 

She explains how, “Kids can’t work in groups, so that kind of cuts down on students being able to talk through their process and engage… and not having kids come up to the whiteboard more than one at a time to solve a problem.” Her classroom has rows of desks instead of groups, which she has had in previous years. 

When it comes to cleanliness in classrooms, Lu has it covered. Between periods Lu quickly wipes down all the chairs and tables with the sanitizer provided by the school in addition to when custodians come and more thoroughly wipe everything down. 

A main struggle that both students and teachers are dealing with are the extremely long class periods. The class periods are now 2- 2 ½ hours long, and filling in with classwork for this amount of time is very difficult. Lu admits she is still struggling with planning for the class periods, She says, “I don’t expect students to learn for 2 ½ hours, you can’t listen to lectures for 2 ½ hours.” 

Lu understands how students and teachers cannot be expected to take up the entire time with lectures, as it is tiring and wears them out. Two Perry Seniors, Bryce Harger, and Ethan Le, explain their take on adjusting to the new math classes. 

Bryce Harger, a student in AP Statistics, expresses that his class has “learning checkpoints” where they have checkpoints on their lessons and with certain content. He explains how his class works, “the first half is the lesson, and then the rest of class we work on homework problems.” He likes this way more as he has more time to get work done. Ethan Le, a student in math year 4, agrees with Bryce.

Ethan expresses how much he likes the long class periods because, “it gives us time to ask questions and finish our homework so we don’t have any to do at home.” Ethan explains however, that he misses working with friends, as everything is spread out more in the classroom.

Both students and teachers cannot wait until the normal scheduling days come back, and lessons will continue more normally. Although the change is quite different from anything Perry staff and students have ever endured, everyone is doing amazing and really keeping a positive outlook on the future.