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Mr. Christopher Reis

“We’ve signed you up for Algebra II over the summer and it will be online!” I heard my parents say
it but, I couldn’t believe it. Gloom and despair came over me as I realized my summer social life
was doomed. Suddenly, I pictured myself with white, sunless skin, flaccid muscles and a continual
headache from sitting in front of a computer screen for hours a day. Unfortunately, I had to retake
second semester of Algebra II and this was the only way to do it. I dreaded the thought of having
to do a semester over, now the thought of it condensed into six weeks sounded worse. Most
horrifying was that it was online! I had never taken a class online, so I was imagining hours of
frustration, computer malfunctions and very little personal help. I can’t do this, I thought. Just
then I asked, “ Who teaches it?” “Mr. R...,” my mom stated. “Didn’t you have him before?” At that
moment, a sensation of joy and hope came over me. Hearing that Mr. R... was teaching the class, I
knew it would be tolerable. I had the honor of being in Mr. R...’s ninth grade Geometry class. Even
though I was not an “A” student, I truly learned Geometry from Mr. R.... There are few teachers who
have a gift for teaching. Mr. R... clearly has this gift. He can take a complex subject, highlight
the most important aspects and explain them in a way that makes sense. First of all, I’ve never had
a math teacher who tells you the purpose of the math. Mr. R... starts every lecture with the reason
for learning the concept, then he shows why it works and finally he goes over the process step by
step. When it came to doing the homework, I didn’t procrastinate because I felt prepared for the
challenge. Most kids will say that math is dry, making it hard to stay awake during the lecture.
This doesn’t happen in Mr R...’s class. No one has a chance to day dream because he keeps everyone
involved. He makes sure to call on every student and never embarrasses a person if they are
incorrect. Because he has engaged the entire class, everyone is benefitting from the lesson. But
what about online Algebra? Would I get the same level of teaching or just a generic lecture? Would
he be as good online as he is in the class room? To his credit, he was probably even more effective
as a teacher. He prepared a series of detailed power point tutorials that have his classic teaching
style. The frames are narrated carefully and clearly by Mr. R... himself. Furthermore, I have all
the material to review over and over, so I can reference it for the assignment and the test. In
addition, he gives you the answers to the homework, so you don’t do it wrong and assume you are
doing the problems correctly. With the answers, I would work the equations through and could find
where I was making a mistake. I was surprised to find that Mr. R... made it easy to communicate with
him. You could e-mail him daily, get a response back quickly and even meet with him in person twice
a week. Plus, the beauty of online is that I can work at any time, in a comfortable setting, when
I’m mentally ready. This is definitely a bonus compared to a 7:35 am lecture in school when I’m
still half asleep. If I had to describe Mr R..., I wouldn’t say he was funny or even very
entertaining, but he is dedicated to his job and most importantly to his students. Furthermore, he
opened my eyes to online learning and gave me a great experience with it. He is a great mentor and
certainly is a candidate for Educator Of The Year.

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