Math department has problems, students say

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The Lincoln Math department has seen many changes over the course of the 2016-17 school year. With new teachers and new class structures, students are complaining about a general lack of cohesion and organization from the department as a whole.

Many students have been voicing their opinions on the program, some claiming that it has become too hard and others defending it. A student who asked to remain anonymous claims that “math has been unexpectedly harder than I anticipated this year”. Other students who wished to remain anonymous also leveled complaints against their teachers, about issues ranging from “lack of communication” to “simply not being engaging.”

However, most complained about class structure, claiming that it has become boring, repetitive, and difficult to follow. One student who asked not to be named claimed that his class “was the perfect storm between boring and hard.

“The units go by so quickly that we are studying for one unit while taking the test for another, and it has proven to be a very unorganized and difficult system to follow. I know this is the case with kids in other classes as well.”

Other students, however, are defending the program, claiming that students have to simply accept the changes and not complain. Senior Michael Ioffe has been in the math program for the entirety of his four years of high school and believes in it strongly.

Ioffe has even become the teacher of the popular Math Connections class, replacing Chadwick Hamilton, who left for Hong Kong at the end of last year.

“The math program here is really incredible, very supportive of student initiatives,” says  Ioffe. “I can’t speak for other teachers, but there is a lot of planning and work being put into my class to make it the best experience for students possible.”

But others are irritated and they often put the blame on some of the new teachers who were hired this year. The district hired five new math teachers over the summer, giving the 2017 math department plenty of fresh faces.

One of those fresh faces is Ranjani Krishnan, an IB math studies and computer science teacher. Krishnan said that as a new teacher, she “felt quite welcome by the students, teachers, staff and the administration. In fact, I feel that at Lincoln, one can be oneself and authenticity is valued and cherished.” She attributed her smooth transition to the fact that she has previous teaching experience and knew what needed to be done to prepare for the year.

Krishnan appreciates the fact that in the Lincoln math department, “lines of communication are always open. Teachers share their struggles with each other. None of the members isolate themselves,” and also how all of the teachers see math as an “ambassador of critical thinking and deep analysis of the world around us – natural and constructed.”

While the math program is constantly changing, there is no doubt that Cardinals have wide-ranging viewpoints on its current state.