James Hessler • Calculus • Arrowhead High School MAG

May 15, 2018
By Benjamin Adamski BRONZE, Hartland, Wisconsin
Benjamin Adamski BRONZE, Hartland, Wisconsin
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Junior year, I shivered at the word calculus. It created an image of college students nervously studying this foreign language of numbers. After all, there are few that truly understand calculus.

Mr. Hessler is a literal brain and a half when it comes to calculus. Me is a teacher who has gone – and will continue to go – above and beyond for his students at Arrowhead High School. He wants each student to succeed, and has spent years perfecting the teaching style that will allow students to pass the AP exam. He is truly an amazing person. That is why I am nominating Mr. Hessler for this award.

When I walked in on my last first day of high school, I was nervous. It was the last year I would see the people I had spent my high school career with and I wanted to make sure my last year went right. I wanted to see myself succeed and enjoy what I had accomplished over the last three years. And so did Mr. Hessler. He had been a teacher long enough to know that by senior year, most kids were ready to call it quits. So he made the class fun.

The first Friday of school was our first quiz. This is when he told us about partner quizzes. Everyone had the opportunity to suggest a theme and we voted the day before the quiz. It was no longer all about math; it was about having fun while learning. This allowed the class to bond and learn from each other. However, this was just the start.

His next teaching device was catchphrases. Mr. Hessler would relate math to terms we could understand. When learning about limits, he would always say, “It’s just a Y guy” or “Is there gas at the station?” All these phrases were said over and over until etched into our memory. Not only did these help us learn the material, but it made the concepts less intimidating.

Then would come the test. After quizzes and catchphrases, it
was what he called “game day.” It was the day to put what we practiced on the paper. When going into game day, everyone wanted the test to be easy, but it never was. We had to fight and think and prove to him we knew what we were doing. Each test made us so much better, and the hard work was worth it. You see, Mr. Hessler’s tests are harder than the AP exam we are preparing to take.

Now, as I walk into class on my final days of high school, I’m faced with a timed Free Response Question from old AP tests. Each and every one is different – and brutal; however, Mr. Hessler taught us how to punch, kick, and grab as many points as we can. He taught us how to “stick it” to the grader. He wants us to win and he doesn’t care how we do it. Mr. Hessler has given each of his students more than enough tools to succeed and destroy the AP test.

The last few weeks of calculus have been the same. I go in excited to take the FRQ, review material, and complete independent work. However, I also feel upset because I know Mr. Hessler won’t be my teacher forever. He won’t be able to teach me more phrases to learn new material. He won’t be there to inspire me to dress up like an idiot. So as our days come to a close, I want to say: Thank you, Mr. Hessler. You have inspired me and shown me the path to success.

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