Equation For Success

Equation For Success


I met Professor
Drucker last semester. Since I can remember, I’ve
always struggled with math. And this wasn’t just
a regular struggle. This was like a legit
struggle with math. As you see x getting
closer and closer to 0, it’s going to be
going off to infinity. And the closer it gets to
0, the faster it’s changing, so you can’t use the
same delta value. The prior semester I
was in a math class. And I went to class regularly,
I went and got a tutor– and I still had only
got a C in the class. In my mind I had always
thought– this is math, I struggle with this. And it gave me a mental
block in a sense. For a lot of the
nontraditional students it takes a different
kind of support, maybe, than what you’d be giving
your ordinary students. I approached him. I let him know that
I’m probably going to be the one in the class that
asks 10 thousand questions. And he was like,
that’s perfectly fine. I understand that you’ve been
out of school for a while, and that you struggle with math. And I’m OK with that. If you’re not
patient, you shouldn’t be in the teaching business. Period. And I think that, again,
the nontraditional students tend to appreciate the
patience a little bit more. The week before midterms,
my car had broken down, and I needed to go to work. And I let him know that not only
am I a nontraditional student, but I also commute. And he didn’t ask any questions. He explained what
I missed, and he allowed me to take my midterm
with no points deducted or anything like that. There was one Sunday he
came in during a Packer game and went to the white board
and explained everything to me. And so I felt like he
needed to be nominated. Somebody needs to know
professors like him that help nontraditional students. Having families, having
jobs– where you ask yourself, how is it possible for
them to find the time to work on these assignments? And so, trying to make
up for that by saying, whenever you’d like to come in,
we can go over some of that. All my colleagues share exactly
the same attitude that I have. I was a little surprised
that I happened to be the one who
was selected, and it was kind of Nestic
to do the nomination. His compassion is what
made things better. It didn’t matter
that I was probably one of the oldest people in the
class or anything like that. He helped. I’d like the students to
feel that faculty members are human beings. And the net result is when
they have you in a classroom, they’re able to associate
things other than just a list of formulas or upcoming exams
with what you have to say. The moments of
teaching that make you feel that it’s
all worthwhile aren’t the ones where you
have a brilliant student who’s doing all right, and
he’d do all right even if you weren’t
helping the student. It’s those students who are
working as hard as they can, and you’ve explained it once and
you can see it hasn’t sunk in. And the second or
third time around, you see the light in
their eyes that says OK. They’ve caught on. I went to his office weeks at
a time for hours at a time, and he sat down and he actually
went through it step by step. For me to graduate is exciting. I passed with a B. I’ve never
gotten a B in a college math course ever, and I was
super excited about that.