Andrew Bendor-Samuel graduated from the University of Winnipeg (U of W) and has been working at his alma mater for 15 years. Currently, he teaches introduction to calculus and prefers the old school methods of teaching.
“I like chalk and a chalk brush. The old course evaluation forms used to ask a question about uses of the appropriate technology and I used to score fairly high on that one,” he says. “And I used to chuckle, because I use chalk and a chalk brush.”
Another job Bendor-Samuel does at the University is tutoring in mathematics, physics and statistics. He also does drop-ins for specific topics, such as biostatistics, and review sessions for linear algebra and calculus.
He points out that it is important to work hard, especially in math.
“One of the No. 1 questions I get as a tutor is that ‘(Why does) it look so easy when you do it?’ Well it’s supposed to, because that’s my job. If it looked hard when I did it, what is it going to look like when you try it?” he says. “It’s going to take some effort, you’re going to get it wrong and that’s OK. You’ll learn from your mistakes.”
Bendor-Samuel says the most rewarding moment for him as a teacher is seeing students who struggled initially start to improve.
“When I see the marks climb and climb and climb – especially if there have been issues with a math phobia and students realize they can get over it – those are awesome,” he says.
As for Bendor-Samuel’s own greatest achievements, they can’t be found in the classroom.
“I’m married, I’ve got two kids, two dogs, a house – that’s pretty cool,” he says.
NUMBER OF PEER-REVIEWED ARTICLES PUBLISHED: One. It was fun. My wife jokes about the fact that I spent the entire summer with highlighters looking for patterns.
LOWEST GRADE IN UNIVERSITY: D, while taking engineering and actuarial science at the University of Manitoba. I hated both of them, so I didn’t put in an appropriate effort… I’m not proud of that one. But it was that or play with my dog, and my puppy was far more interesting.
SUPERPOWER: I ride my bike in the winter.
BATTING AVERAGE: I haven’t played baseball since Grade 6, but back then – and well it still is – probably pretty poor.
MESSAGE TO STUDENTS: First year is harder than you think it is. It’s going to take time and effort. And if you are worried about the course being difficult, do it sooner rather than later