March 14, 2012
By Anonymous

AP Calculus. One of the hardest classes in high school. Why? Why did I decide to get ahead in math way back in sixth grade? How was I to know it would eventually lead to me taking extreme crazy advanced math as a junior in high school? I know why; fate, God, buddah, call it what you will, I was meant to be in Mr. Smiths’ AP Calculus class. I thank whoever it was that made it happen, because Mr. Smith has not only changed how I look at math, he has changed how I look at the world.

I am extremely lower left brained: artsy, social, a people person. The exact opposite of someone who takes joy in making calculations and solving intricate math problems with more letters than numbers. I love to learn and only do well in school because I work hard for my grades. Mr. Smith is the only teacher who I’ve known that I’ve been able to relate to in math. He even said himself he didn’t really like it. The first day he told us that he teaches not because he finds joy in calculus, but that he finds joy in teaching kids and seeing them succeed. By the end of the first week he had everyones’ first and last names down and could say hi to you in the hall without hesitation. He tells funny stories and is always coming up with new ways to teach that could be better than his last.The biggest thing of all, he treats us like friends while still maintaining professionalism. I am comfortable in that little classroom in the corner of the school. I enjoy studying there because I know he will take all the time it takes to help me understand the letters and numbers.

Mr. Smith not only fits all criteria for your typical, movie-like inspiring teacher. He goes further. Mr. Smith not only teaches the material well, he will stay after and spend hours with just one student, until he or she understands and can do calculus like anything. He spent a few days over Christmas Break to review for a test, and he stays after school almost everyday for two to three hours. On some Saturdays he comes in to help while still keeping up with his family life..

You would think that most teenagers would dread calculus period, but with Mr. Smith I know that many of my friends I look forward to fourth period where it really is fun to learn new things because Mr. Smith makes it fun. He is understanding and gives you the chance to make up any test. He says that he just wants to know that you can do calculus, even if it takes all semester, he will help you if you don’t give up. If you don’t get an assignment done, he knows teenagers have crazy lives and can’t do anything. But the thing is, with Mr. Smith, you want to get your homework done, or get a good score on the first test, because not doing so would let Mr. Smith down. Letting Mr. Smith down would be like Harry Potter failing Dumbledore in his mission: impossible to think about.

I could go on forever about Mr. Smith, all the corny math jokes and anecdotes that inspire. I could talk about his Pebbles of Hope or Danika’s Chart. But all these would sum up one thing. Mr. Smith, AP calculus teacher at Lone Peak High School, is one of the best teachers I had have had or ever will have. He can bring out the best in anyone, even the one who doesn’t know a thing about math can pass the AP test with Mr. Smith and his constant encouragement. He teaches the benefits of working hard and perseverance, that with hope and someone to believe in you, you can do anything.

The author's comments:
I wrote this to recognize my amazing math teacher. He has taught me so much and I actually love to be in math because of him.

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