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What Jiahe Lu learned through teaching math

Graphic+illustration+by+Chelsea+Lee
Sarah Zhang
Graphic illustration by Chelsea Lee

VIKING CHRONICLES — Junior Jiahe Lu began teaching classes at Art of Problem Solving, a Santa Clara math academy, after his parents wanted him to find a summer job. Though his expectations were low on his first day of work, Lu soon discovered that there was more to his job than just correcting his students’ work and talking about theorems.

“I thought it would be a more hostile environment where I would be scrutinized to ensure I was the perfect fit,” Lu said. “But that wasn’t the case.”

Graphic illustration by Chelsea Lee (Sarah Zhang)

After applying online, Lu was approved to teach three classes — one geometry and two competition math — to middle and younger high school students. As a competitive mathematician himself, he felt comfortable teaching concepts like number theory and probability. But the geometry classes were more difficult and tiring for him to teach.

“There were a lot of students who weren’t particularly interested in math in the geometry prep class,” Lu said. “It took a lot of effort to get them to focus and pay attention.”

Because he was given some freedom in how he taught his curriculum, Lu was able to bond with his students, rather than just sticking to fixed, formulaic methods of teaching. His stint as a math teacher left him with an appreciation for teaching.

“I’m most proud of all the effort I put in,” Lu said. “If you’re not passionate about something, you’re not going to get tired. So the feeling of wanting to collapse after getting off work was really rewarding.”

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About the Contributor
Sarah Zhang, Staffer
(she/her) Sarah is a senior and second-year staffer. She spends her time exploring the poetry of life, through music, writing, and design. She enjoys dreaming, being on the internet, watching Asian films, blogging, appreciating whimsical design, reading biology papers, joking with her friends, (list non-exhaustive)...

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