There is a well known story about a hare and a tortoise, teaching that careful work and patient wisdom can bring one to success. Once upon a time, the hare, who was quite proud of his ability to run fast, mocked the tortoise for its slowness. In response, the tortoise challenged the hare to take a race. On the day of the race, as soon as the two started, the hare quickly got far away of his laggard competitor. The hare was running faster and faster, and soon he has moved so far away ahead, that he completely lost the tortoise out of sight. In a short while, the hare almost reached the finish line. The hare felt self-confident and decided to take a short nap and wait for the tortoise to appear on the horizon again. The sudden fatigue brought hare into a deep sleep, and when he finally woke up, the tortoise was already waiting for him beyond the finish line. The hare, astonished by the foolishness of his mistake and the rashness of his conceit stared at the tortoise, who silently smiled: “Slowly does it every time!”
The story of the hare and tortoise reminds me of my Calculus teacher, Mr. Spatz, who took huge efforts and implied all the patience he had to make his students understand the nuts and bolts of Mathematics. Mr. Spatz moved slowly but surely through the discipline of Calculus, answering questions and keeping close feedback with the students. In the course, Mr. Spatz did not switch to the next block of material, unless he was completely sure that the students understood the concepts of the previous chapter. Mr. Spatz fascinated me with his strong concentration, ability to pay attention to details, his talent to make impeccable calculations, unending patience, and careful concern of his students.
Another feature that I praise much in Mr. Spatz and consider crucially important for a good teacher is enthusiasm. Mr. Spatz had a talent to make learning interesting. He made students get involved in the learning process by bringing in outside information, providing interesting examples from real life, building bright comparisons, and maintaining open communication.
In the past, I used to dread the world Calculus because I never realized how much fun it could be. Mr. Spatz found a way to make students truly interested in such topics as “A.P. derivative” and “integral Calculus”, and we found motivation to work extra hours on the problems without boredom or reluctance. Mr. Spatz’s tests were never predictable, so that one should deeply understand the concepts of the course and be able to apply them to real life situations. Mr. Spatz’s approach to teaching showed wonderful results, while as our A.P. Calculus II class succeeded to receive high grades on the A.P. test at the end of the year.
My Calculus teacher helped me to realize the importance of thorough work, persistence and enthusiasm. I think these characters will aid me in my future studies and work.
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