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Mr. Vettori solves more than just math problems

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We sat down with Mr. Robert Vettori, a new teacher at the school this year. Mr. Vettori teaches Algebra, geometry and BC Calculus.

Q: What do you enjoy about teaching math?

A: I like helping people make discoveries for themselves and watching people grow from that. I didn’t know I was going to be a teacher when I entered college, but my college job was working at Williams-Sonoma teaching cooking classes there, and that’s when I realized I like to teach. I wouldn’t say there’s so much a subject matter that I like to teach as much as the act of teaching and watching people make new connections.

Q: What experience from when you were in high school influences your teaching today?

A: I try to put myself back when I was a kid in high school, and I try to think about I felt and how my friends around me felt. I try to use that as a point of departure. For example, I know I want my students to sit still and listen to me all class long, but that’s not realistic. I think back to high school when the best classes for me were the ones where the teacher spoke for a bit, engaged the class and gave the class free time to talk and think amongst themselves.

Q: What do you want your students to take out of what you teach them?

A: Problem solving and a sense of self-respect. Especially because I teach math, I am very aware that math can be a scary subject and it can make people feel small or unable, and that upsets me a lot. I try to make sure that students know that no matter what their strength is, it’s OK to have weaknesses. You need to respect yourself for them and have enough self-respect to be able to work on those weaknesses, because otherwise there will always be weaknesses. I try to make math more about general problem solving strategies so that later in life they they’ll have the general skills to go about solving problems. That skill is the most important.

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The student newspaper of Washington-Lee High School
Mr. Vettori solves more than just math problems