Tuesday, August 26, 2008

1st Day Letter To Parents

Dear Parents and Students of upper-level mathematics,

Welcome to another new year filled with new possibilities, new challenges to conquer, and new expectations to rise above.

My name is Kevin Korpi, and I have the distinct pleasure of being your son or daughter’s math teacher this year. Some of you may already know me as your son/daughter’s UIL math coach or Math Club sponsor. For others of you, this year is our first opportunity to work together. In either case, I look forward to partnering with you throughout the year to help your child have a rich and enjoyable learning experience in PreAP/AP mathematics.

As this is an upper-level course, I will likely address most concerns about your child’s progress to him/her directly. This course is a fast-paced, rigorous course that requires sustained levels of quality effort and concentration, and mastery requires much practice. The concepts we learn are abstract and interwoven. The skills we encounter are entirely new and foreign. By this point, I expect students to manage their time effectively, seek out help when they need it, and be responsible for completing their assignments and turning them in on time. Since my goal is to challenge all students in the course, it is likely that every student will be confused, or feel slightly overwhelmed, at least once this year; I hope that by working through such moments together, we can better prepare these students for the challenges of AP and college-level math classes. If those moments are more than isolated occurrences, or if you have any concern about your child’s progress, please feel free to contact me at any time.

I expect the best from each and every student, and in return, the students can expect my best efforts, providing the instruction, support, and encouragement for any diligent student to meet those expectations. A student’s success in this course is a joint effort among me, you the parents, and of course, the student. I earnestly believe that students who are successful in mathematics can be successful in any subject or discipline. The habits of mind and the required daily discipline developed in learning math are skills that transcend math and the classroom. These are valuable skills that will stay with students the rest of their lives and will help them be successful in many of their future endeavors.

As Lewis Carroll (a mathematician!) wrote in “Through the Looking Glass,” it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that This year we want to get somewhere else, so we will run fast, we will work hard, but we will also have a lot of fun.

PreAP/AP math is challenging, but it’s not meant to be impossible. If you’re really struggling, see me to discuss what strategies you’re using and how to fine-tune your study habits. I may recommend you look for a tutor, but usually I find that PreAP/AP students who get a little help to get back on track don’t need regular meetings after that. Remember: math is supposed to be fun (really) even if part of the fun is surviving some of the hard parts.

Thank you for taking the time to review this letter and the attached materials and to fill out the section below. I look forward to seeing you during parent night.


Mr. Kevin Korpi
Mathematics Teacher


Anonymous said...

Don't worry when the going gets tough the tough get going... and your students will rise to meet your standards. Now the parents...that's a differet question all together...good luck with them.

Anonymous said...

Good letter. Your kiddos should know that you expect them to work hard. I hope it's a great year for you.