Pandemic Learning, One Year Later: Rob Sherry, Math

Whether teaching economics, calculus, or geometry, Rob Sherry makes a lasting impact on his students. Alumni/ae frequently cite Mr. Sherry’s classes as the inspiration for their career and passion for mathematics. (His name has made an appearance in the acknowledgements of more than one alumni/ae dissertation.) 

Undeterred by the challenges of teaching in a pandemic, Mr. Sherry has maintained his calm analytical approach throughout virtual and hybrid learning—ensuring that all of his students feel engaged and excited to learn. Read on to learn more about Mr. Sherry and his appreciation for his students’ talent and commitment.

What do you love most about teaching at Commonwealth?

The students are what make teaching at Commonwealth such a pleasure. Of course, they are a talented bunch, but the thing that I appreciate the most is how committed they are to learning and how hard they work to keep up with all that we put before them.

What hybrid-learning adaptation(s) do you think you'll continue using post-pandemic? 

I thought that I was going to find Google Classroom a real impediment, but I've come to enjoy its structure and how easy it makes it for students to plan their work. I've even gotten used to grading on an iPad!

What did you learn about your students over the past year/during hybrid teaching?

I've been on the receiving end of Zoom class and meetings. It isn't easy to sit in front of a screen all day and to stay focused. I think that the Commonwealth students have done an admirable job at attending classes, staying focused, and keeping on top of their work. When we first went online last spring, Mr. Wharton told us not to worry if we couldn't cover all the usual material. He said the same thing for this year. I have to say that my students haven't missed a thing. They've kept up with the same syllabi that I used in non-pandemic years and have done a great job with the material.

What is your favorite project/assignment/topic you teach and why?

It's hard to pick any one favorite from all the lessons. One that comes to mind is when I show Geometry Advanced the consistency of Hyperbolic Geometry. This amazing fact eluded mathematicians for almost two thousand years and led to the birth of modern mathematics. It's incredible that it's within the grasp of these bright ninth graders, and it leads to many interesting consequences, including the idea that our own world may not be Euclidean after all.

What was your favorite class in high school?

When I was in high school, I liked math but I often studied it in tutorials so it wasn't my favorite class. I did love physics, French, history, and economics. 

Meet More Commonwealth Teachers