Additions To The Math Department


With the loss of three math teachers at the Black River Falls High School and now more than half of the math department being new to the school district, the math teachers have come together to bring things back on track. 

Jared Plaza has been at the high school for six years now. He is now the teacher with the most experience in the math department. The new teachers to the math department include Teresa Delph, Emily Schoen, and Atlanta Stanton. With losing three math department members, this year has been really stressful.

“Overall, I think it’s been really good, but it’s been super stressful. Everybody’s picking up little tiny pieces to kind of makeup for what we’re losing,” math teacher Mr. Plaza said. 

During COVID, teachers say it has been hard to teach and feel connected with school being hybrid. 

“The most challenging part of teaching this year is the hybrid setting. Having students in person and on-line requires a different level of skill-set that hasn’t been necessary in previous years,” math teacher Teresa Delph said. 

Along with COVID making it hard to connect with students, it has also been a challenge to keep them motivated during this time. 

“The math teachers have worked together to overcome some of the obstacles that virtual teaching presents.  For example, how do we handle ‘talking to a black box’ because students don’t want to turn their cameras on, or how do we encourage attendance when students aren’t motivated to attend on virtual Wednesdays. My team teachers are a great soundboard,” Delph said. 

The math department has worked hard to keep things rolling even through the difficult times by ensuring students understand the content being taught. 

“As a department, us math teachers decided that it was more important for us to slow down content so that students understand what we are teaching than to try and teach them too much in a short period of time. Understanding one thing in three weeks can develop more skills, like accuracy, critical thinking, and perseverance, than trying to teach students three things in the same amount of time,” math teacher Emily. Shoen said. 

When starting at a new job, it is helpful to lean on your coworkers for support. 

“There is a learning curve for those of us new to the district. I can’t speak for the other teachers,  but I have learned so much since starting here at Black River Falls. I am so grateful that Mr. Plaza has been here for six years and is very familiar with the district. Mrs. Delph has been teaching for 15 years, so even though this is her first year in Black River Falls, she has also given me so much advice as a first-year teacher,” Schoen said.

With all these stressful and difficult obstacles to work around, there are still things to look forward to and positive outcomes. 

“I think one of the biggest positives that I can take away is, we’ve got three awesome teachers who are working. They know their content, the kids relate to them, and they’re really easy to work with as a colleague. And I’m looking forward to being able to see what amazing things we can achieve as a department when there isn’t a pandemic,” Plaza said.