Exit Interview: Mr. Roger Loud

Math teacher Mr. Roger Loud is retiring at the end of this year. Guest contributor JoJo Rosenbluth ‘19 sat down with Loud for this exit interview.

 

How has your method of teaching evolved through the years with your students?

I found early on that my most effective teaching comes from asking questions as much as possible rather than laying stuff out in the laps of kids. It’s more conducive to thinking on your part than just writing down what I say or writing down what’s on the board. So, obviously it took several years to conquer the subject matter in such a way that I’m comfortable teaching it and I don’t see that my methods have changed much and quite obviously I’m way behind the time on technology and happy to remain that way. I’m more comfortable in an environment that doesn’t depend on watching movies; the internet’s full of crap. I’m an old war horse hanging on to old methods and as far as I can tell they still work.

What are you going to miss most about Northwood?

Well, every year’s a new bunch of faces so that’s always refreshing and there’s a discipline to being a teacher, you’re under great time restraints and so forth. For some, that’s a burden; for others, it’s a nice crutch. So I think being without a time crunch is going to be an issue for me until I reorganize my days. I’m happy to be coming back on an hourly basis playing with this math lab. I hope that that will be enthusiastically received and used. As long as I can keep watching some hockey games that will keep me going. Obviously, when you leave thirty or forty colleagues there’s a friendship issue that I don’t think will be very big since I will be staying in town and Northwood isn’t leaving. I will be keeping an eye on this place and won’t feel too much of a vacuum I guess.

What are your plans for retirement?

Doing it very slowly. I went down to two classes this year so that was a half a step and the math lab will be another half a step-down. Other than that I don’t have any grand plans. I am not much of a travel nut. As long as I can put one foot after another on a mountain trail I’ll keep on doing that.

What is your favorite memory from your time at Northwood?

I don’t think I can answer that. Every day has a few ups and a few downs. Interaction with kids and aha moments and scores of 5 on the AP exam and so forth are all high times. So I wouldn’t say there’s a peak somewhere. Each day has several peaks to it and a couple of valleys in between.

What advice would you give to an incoming Northwood teacher?

Ask questions. Keep in mind that independent schools are fairly famous for teachers being left on their own. The glorious independence of teaching extends to the fact that we don’t support new teachers as well as we should traditionally. Every school says that they have some built-in support systems but they’re generally light if at all. So it’s up to a new teacher to screw up his or her courage and seek help and collaborative questions and invite older teachers into their classrooms and work not only on refining their own styles but also on picking everyone else’s brain along the way. Watch out for the local taverns and get a good night’s sleep. Suck the blood out of all the rest of us who have been at it for a long time is the best advice I could give any new teacher.  If somebody comes in new and says I don’t need any help that’s somebody headed in the wrong direction.

Dear Mr. Loud:

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Separated at birth? Aiden and Mr. Loud. (Photo: JoJo Rosenbluth)

Never have I been more motivated to get a correct answer than because of your constant fake heart attacks. I remember one time I was answering a math question and I unknowingly gave an incredibly wrong answer and you grabbed your chest and gasped for air. So I tried a different answer and you gasped again and fell back against the whiteboard. This happened again until I realized my grave mistake and answered correctly. As soon as I said the right answer you looked at me and said, “Oh, my heart is better.”

Speaking more of your reactions to our wrong answers, many many times, you have hissed at our class for not knowing how to solve a simple math problem. I think you asked us what two plus two is, and the whole class said five.

I never found myself dreading your class. In fact, I had fun in your math class. That’s something you don’t always hear about math class, but lots of people say it about yours. For example, our most recent unit was on finding derivatives and deriving complex equations, and I actually found myself enjoying these math problems. Part of my enjoyment came from how well you taught me. Thank you for being my teacher.

Aiden Smith ‘19

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