This year, when I found out my math class would be 60 minutes, instead of the traditional 40, I wasn’t exactly thrilled. How would I focus? But Mr. Hessler, my AP Calculus teacher, made class enjoyable. Yes…math was enjoyable.
Mr. Hessler appears exactly how you would picture a tough, sports coach: loud, energetic, and passionate. This isn’t surprising because he coached Arrowhead Football for 29 years. Mr. Hessler creatively brought his coaching lingo into math class. Practices done through homework. Scrimmages played out in quizzes. The day of our test: the big “Game Day.”
He knows we need to work hard, and he pushes us, but the ultimate goal: success at the end of the week and in the future.
When I tell people I’m taking AP Calculus, I get a scared look in return. It’s like I said I’m going to the beach in the middle of January. Why would anyone do that? When I see their faces, I say, “But Mr. Hessler makes the class understandable and concepts achievable, if you work for it.”
Mr. Hessler is honest and clear. He isn’t afraid to say when we need to improve on something before the test. He wants the students to have the skills they need to improve. Through 28 years of teaching, Mr. Hessler has developed phrases to help students recall concepts. Foreign to students outside of Hessler’s class, phrases such as “shark fin,” “seek and destroy,” and “drop the boat,” I promise every Hessler calculus student has permanently stored in their brains.
Quiz Fridays are like a weekly holiday. Throughout the week, we come up with themes. Famous examples include Freedom Friday, Fun-Fact Friday, and Finish-line Friday. The students must follow the dress up requirements to have a partner quiz. For example, Finish-line Friday’s requirements included athletic clothes, a medal, race number, tennis shoes, and sweat bands. This is something that gets the class working together and gives the students a chance to collaborate with a partner. Mr. Hessler explains, “You get a lot more out of explaining a concept to a partner, than you would sitting their staring at a problem you don’t understand.” With partner quizzes, the students discuss the answers and work through the problems together.
He gives students a chance to work through difficulties before the test. Mr. Hessler does a great job utilizing different ways to teach, and that’s what makes his class successful and enjoyable. Yes, math class with Mr. Hessler is enjoyable everyday—even for 60 minutes.