Stephen Haggerty, Math, Holy Name Central This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

April 28, 2010
I’ve had some pretty outrageous teachers, but not one equals my sophomore geometry teacher, Mr. Haggerty. From creating imaginary characters in the classroom to nicknaming geometric figures, Mr. Haggerty has a knack for keeping every class unique and every lesson interesting. Although loud and rambunctious, he knows exactly how to bring out the best in students.

To be exceptional, a teacher must be willing to learn the class’s capabilities, and adjust accordingly. Mr. Haggerty learned about each of us in the first month, and then split us up into two groups. The accelerated group worked in study groups for the whole class, and taught each other the material, with help from him for difficult problems. This let him spend the majority of time working with the second group, attending to their needs. While this meant some might be on chapter eight, while others might still be on chapter four or five, Mr. Haggerty was able to juggle the class by spending five to ten minutes on each chapter, giving work for it, and letting us choose which set of work we wanted to do.

He also let us retake chapter tests as many times as we wanted, which allowed us to move on to the next chapter whenever we felt ready. I know what you’re thinking: Why would he let students take the same test as many times as they wanted? But Mr. Haggerty’s retake tests were never the same; he kept a similar setup, but changed the variables in the problems, so no matter how many times a student took it, they still needed to know the material to get the problems right. It also helped bad test-takers, giving them a second chance to do well in his class. Mr. Haggerty wants his students to succeed, not fail.

The fictional “Grumble the Bear” was a frequent guest in geometry class that year. Sometimes, while Mr. Haggerty was teaching, he would “see” Grumble outside, walking down the street or climbing a tree. Mr. Haggerty would walk over to the window, open it, and proceed to shout at Grumble for various reasons. Grumble also appeared in word problems on tests. However, Grumble was not the only character Mr. Haggerty used: the triangle with a face, and GWIF the parallelogram – named for the letters that represent the four types of corners of a parallelogram – were celebrities in our geometry class.

Mr. Haggerty still remains my favorite teacher of all time. He has a huge influence on me to this day, not simply because of his methods, but because of his will to help us understand the information. He works really hard at what he does, and deserves the best. F

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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SMWells said...
Oct. 29, 2010 at 6:48 pm
Did his his students get a hyer grade average than they had the year before?
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