Math teacher Laurie Deuschle has not only seen, but also has been able to influence the math department’s changes in technology and curriculum over the 15 years she’s taught at Mill Valley.
Some of these advancements include the increase in graphing calculator use, the removal of overhead projectors, the addition of consumable textbooks and the transition into Common Core.
Deuschle said although it can be tough to keep up with all of the changes, she enjoys what is being done.
“There’s so much more technology out there,” Deuschle said. “I wish I had the time to go through it all, but when I do play around with it all I get lost because I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s good, and that’s good, and that’s good.’”
A new development that could possibly start to be incorporated in classes is blended learning. Deuschle said she approves of this advance.
“Blended learning is this thing that’s up and coming where we incorporate various types of learners and place them in different types of environments and try to have them help each other,” Deuschle said. “I like the idea; I think it’s really nice. I love getting kids involved in stuff and trying to get them to see how important what we’re learning is.”
Deuschle said no matter what changes are happening, she hopes the lessons students take from her class remain the same.
“Hopefully [my students] learn good studying skills for when they get to college,” Desuchle said. “Math is everywhere and it can be fun. It’s a lot of work, but if you’re struggling, don’t give up and just keep pushing on.”
Social studies teacher Jack Johnson, a former student of Deuschle’s, said that her teaching methods were effective.
“[Deuschle] is very helpful and open. She always provided resources for us,” Johnson said. “There was always a purpose to everything we did.”
One change Deuschle said she isn’t particularly fond of is the allowed use of cell phones at school. Deuschle said she frequently has to take phones from students who are misusing the devices in her classroom.
“I hated it when we first got it,” Deuschle said. But [the rule] was proposed to teachers [by stating] that students need to learn when and where it is appropriate to use their phone which is true, I agree.”
Deuschle said although new technology is exciting, she fears the loss of human interaction.
“I see a lot of things becoming available online and I think there’s a lot to be offered, but I don’t want the human contact to be lost either,” Deuschle said. “It’s changing really fast; I feel kind of scared because I can’t keep up with it. There’s so much out there. What do you choose to keep up with? Where do you spend all of your time?”
Through all of the changes and years, Deuschle said as a teacher she has learned many things herself.
“I’ve learned to be compassionate, understanding, open minded and flexible. I’ve also learned that things change all the time,” Deuschle said.
Deuschle has considered switching to different schools but has ultimately decided to stay at Mill Valley.
“I love what I teach … Pre-Calculus is my favorite … I like the staff I work with and I love the department I work in,” Deuschle said. “We have some pretty special kids here; [Mill Valley] is a great place to be.”