The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

Spotlight: Mr. Buch

Spotlight%3A+Mr.+Buch

Guy Cardwell

Staff Writer

What is the best way to engage students? How can an Advanced Placement course simulate the rigor of post-high school education without being overwhelming? AP Statistics teacher Mr. Buch explained his teaching approach and style in an interview with Theogony.

When Mr. Buch began teaching high school, times were strange. “It’s been a weird few years,” he said. Out of four years of teaching, three have been affected by COVID-19 policies. Teaching digitally brought new challenges, and many teachers were forced to adjust to engage students through the screens. “I think the biggest way that my teaching approach has changed over time is that I’ve really pushed to incorporate activities in the class and more group work,” he said.

Mr. Buch’s goal of the course is twofold: “I’m trying to prepare you specifically for the AP exam but also for the rigors of a college-level math class.” To prepare for the exam, tests, quizzes, and homework are all drawn from previous AP exam problems. He also draws on his experience teaching at the college level. “I want you to walk into college and be prepared,” he said. “It’s not just the rigor of the AP exam I’m preparing you for but the rigor of college itself.” 

While not compromising the integrity of the class, Mr. Buch employs strategies to reduce the stress level. “It’s a constant struggle of managing the stress because you guys all take a lot of AP classes, maybe more than advisable,” he explained. To help students stay organized, consistency is crucial. “The value of consistency is that students know what to expect; there is an element of comfort because students know how to prepare.” Before each unit, students receive a calendar with relevant due dates and assignments. Online versions of anything in class can be found on Canvas. “Learning math can be a stressful thing, and routines help reduce some of that stress,” said Mr. Buch

While it is important to allow students to develop class rituals, it is also important to keep students engaged. “I think that continued focus for adults in a lecture is challenging after more than 10 minutes, but this is challenging because some problems take over 10 minutes. That’s where chunking comes in. I use acronyms a lot [to] break a problem into small pieces.”

Teaching statistics in both college and high school has led to meaningful connections with students. “I am in touch with several students, a lot have moved up and had kids. I’ve been to a few weddings. I love staying in touch with students and seeing where they end up,” he said.

Photo Courtesy of Guy Cardwell

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Spotlight: Mr. Buch