NEW ON CAMPUS: Ahn Reynolds


Photograph by Nico Palop

Teaching chemistry is a blast!

First time teacher Ahn Reynolds finds that she may not be “strict” enough. What do you think?

Mariapia Onorato: What are you teaching?

Ahn Reynolds: AP Chemistry and 4 classes of College Prep Chemistry

MO: What did do before coming to MCDS?

AR: I was a graduate student in Northwestern right before I came here. I was a student my whole life so I finished college and then I went to graduate school, I did research at the university for few years and then went to graduate school.

MO: How is this first year of teaching going?

AR: I think it is really challenging. I thought the same as many other students that school was hard and with so much going on — having so many classes, doing a lot of work. I think teaching is a lot harder than just learning because there is a lot to prepare, there is just a lot going on. I would say that boring is the last thing about teaching. It is anything but boring.

MO: What makes you unique?

AR: I have lived in a lot of places, but that seems to be known a lot in this school. I was born in Vietnam, lived in Singapore, Australia, France and now USA. So, a few places.

MO: What’s the best and worst part about teaching?

AR: I think that the best part is being able to interact with the students and see how they put effort in and the effort like pays off in the end, or see how they grow and improve in the end. You know there are those moments that they didn’t get something and then they get it. I feel like as a teacher we wait for those moments. I think the reason I go to teaching is not just the delivering of the material but also like seeing the growth in general, in character, in personality, in many other domains not just academic.

The worst part of teaching is… I think the worst so far is when I just can’t find a way to help students. When I see that they are not trying. The worst part is when I see students keep not trying because when you don’t care or not try at all there is nothing I can do to help, seeing that is really sad. I feel like every student I have is a great person, and everyone has some strength and some weakness that I probably don’t know yet but I just feel like they are great people. But there are just students that do not pay attention or you know don’t make effort at all, whenever that happens it makes me upset. Not only that but the continuous non effort and ending with a bad grade and not putting in the effort.  In general the way they are taking it. Just to see that they are not trying. I feel like helpless, like what can I do? I feel like all teachers feel that way. But the student is not trying, then there is nothing we can do. I feel powerless, helpless feeling is really terrible.

MO: What would they like students to know about them?

AR: What I want them to know is that I am ultimately on their side. I feel like the parents are on their side and I am on their side, so we are all working towards for them to be better. Having to, for example, have an Open House when I have some parents asking me how their kids are doing, I haven’t really known them that well. All I know is how they did on the quiz and it’s all they have been communicating and showing, like what am I going to say? Ultimately we want to help you as teachers, we just have to do what is necessary. So far, one of my challenges is that I am not strict enough, that might hurt the students in the long run.