Tooth Be Told
The start of a new school year always seems to sneak up on me. When I first moved to Alabama, I was surprised to learn kids started going back to school in August! Where I grew up, we didn’t go back to school until September. My own girls are getting ready to start a new school year and meet their new teachers, which got me thinking about some of the teachers I had when I was in school. One year while I was in high school, I took a bunch of AP classes, which included double math. That’s right. I took two periods of math each day. How awesome is that? I know not many people would agree with me, but I loved math, so double math was a dream come true. Since these were AP classes, we were learning some really challenging problems. Fortunately, my teacher that year was Mrs. Tulik, one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. The subject was tough, but Mrs. Tulik managed to make it fun, like we were solving a puzzle. She loved math and never gave up on a student. Even if you were struggling with a problem, she TEACHERS WHO MADE MATH FUN Top of the Class
I got to participate. It made my sophomore year really fun, thanks in no small part to how wonderful Mrs. Tulik was.
Mrs. Tulik wasn’t the only awesome math teacher I had. Another great teacher was Mr. Wengenroth. He loved math and got really amped up while he taught. The trouble was that Mr. Wengenroth had a problem with spitting when he talked, especially when he got really amped up. Usually, spitting would disqualify a teacher from the favorites list, but Mr. Wengenroth was aware of the problem. Every week, he rotated the seating chart so the same students weren’t sitting in the front row spit zone. It was still pretty gross, but we all appreciated the gesture. Plus, I really liked having a teacher so excited about math. It’s amazing how much of a difference a great teacher makes on your experience as a student. I had teachers who made me dread coming to class because, even though they taught a subject I liked, they never tried to connect with their students. While I don’t often use the equations from Mrs. Tulik class, I use what she taught me about being a good teacher every day at the office. As a dentist, it’s my responsibility to teach my patients how to best care for their teeth and their smiles. I can’t just lecture them about flossing; I make an effort and get to know my patients, so we can connect and learn from each other.
remained so optimistic and supportive. “I know you can get this,” she’d say. “I’m not letting you give up. Go back to your desk and keep trying.” In addition to being great at teaching math, Mrs. Tulik was just a great all-around teacher. She had a high-pitched voice that would crack occasionally. When it did, Mrs. Tulik was always the first to laugh and make a joke about herself. She made you feel comfortable and welcome in her classroom. Everyone loved her. Because the school didn’t offer double math the next year, I’m so glad
“In addition to being great at teaching math, Mrs. Tulik was
Good luck to all students and teachers starting a new school year. May you learn a lot and make some wonderful memories!
just a great all-around teacher.”
—Dr. Elizabeth Duling
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