Changing the Future One Math Problem At A Time

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Mr. Ramirez, once a struggling student, now a happy math teacher paving the path for others

Trinity Advincula-De Los Angeles

Staff Writer

    If Mr. Ramirez were to travel back in time and tell his past self that he would be a math teacher when he grew up, he would probably burst out in laughter.

    Overall, Mr. Ramirez did pretty well in school, and one might think that he even liked school because of this. Truthfully, he didn’t care for school at all, and certainly not math. He was more of a troublemaker and a rebel than a student who followed the rules.

    “I used to ditch school, especially my math classes because I always hated learning math,” Mr. Ramirez said. “I’d go to the skate park and then come back to school by the end of the day.”

    Ramirez grew up in southern California in a low-income community. He didn’t have a lot of luxuries or privileges because he and his family didn’t have a lot of money. Despite not having much, he had to cherish what he did have. When he sees students who struggle and get into trouble, they stick out to him—he feels compelled to support those kids the most because he sees his younger self in them.

    “I like to work with the kids who feel like they’re not good at math because I was never really good at math,” Mr. Ramirez said. “But for some reason, I kept at it and I was able to finally push through and understand all of it. I see all of that potential in my students.”

   Through all the tough times of high school, there was one person who believed in him and helped shaped who he is today: his cross country coach. His coach helped him raise his grades, and because he was also a math teacher, he helped him to actually understand math rather than just simply memorize formulas and facts.

   “He also encouraged me to continue sticking with school,” Ramirez said. “I was so set on not really continuing school right after high school.”

    It took a lot of work for Mr. Ramirez to get where he is now given his obstacles in the past. However, it all helped form who he is now. He’s really proud of himself for going to college, earning his degree in math, getting a job, and becoming a teacher. He wholeheartedly enjoys guiding his students down the right path and supporting them in whatever they love.

    “Being a teacher is the best accomplishment I’ve had,” Ramirez said. “I get to shape young minds.”

    While grades and academics are important, Mr. Ramirez says that they are not the most important part of high school.   “I think [the purpose of high school is] to try to understand what kind of person you want to be…as an adult,” Ramirez said.  “Figuring out what you want to shape yourself into…and slowly by the end when you’re a senior you’re gonna figure out what kind of person you want to be.”

    This discovery is what Mr. Ramirez believes is the most valuable and significant part of the journey through high school. Of course, he doesn’t think that academics should be ignored, but that there should be a nice balance.

    “Prepare yourself for adulthood.” Mr. Ramirez said.   

    Mr. Ramirez sees a bright future ahead for his students, and believes that they should enjoy their youth. However, he also wants them to take in their own experiences and make sure to learn from them.

    “Live and learn,” Mr. Ramirez said. “You’re living in the moment, but also learn from the moment.”

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