St. Joseph student shadows VC mathematics professor for a day
St. Joseph shadow
St. Joseph High School senior Benjamin Boyle works an algebraic problem as Victoria College Mathematics Department Chair and Associate Professor Melanie Yosko looks on.

Victoria College Mathematics Department Chair and Associate Professor Melanie Yosko rarely comes across someone who is as excited about math as she is. But on Oct. 19, Yosko met someone who would like to follow in her footsteps.

St. Joseph High School senior Benjamin Boyle observed Yosko in action for a day to find out what it would be like to teach math at the college level.

“It is good to see how different math teachers teach,” said Boyle, who will major in mathematics at San Antonio’s St. Mary’s University. “I learned you have to be excited about math to make other people excited about math. You have to be extra ‘into it’ for those who aren’t excited about it.”

Yosko, who has been teaching math for 12 years, said her goal each semester is to have some of her passion for mathematics rub off on her students.

“My students ask me all the time, ‘Why are you so excited about this?’ ” Yosko said. “I always ask them, ‘Do you really want a teacher who is dry and boring and doesn’t want to be here?’ We try to have fun in class whether they like math or not. It’s a means to an end.”

Boyle said teaching is in his blood. His father, Michael Boyle, teaches Spanish at St. Joseph. His mother, Gretchen, is an English teacher at the school.

“I have pretty much all through school liked math more than any other subject,” Boyle said.

Yosko offered some advice to Boyle and others who are considering a career in teaching mathematics.

“At first, you want to show the students everything you know,” Yosko said. “Then after you have done this for awhile, it’s not about what all you know. It’s all about how you can get the students to learn it. That’s the biggest challenge, but it’s the most rewarding, too.

“I recognize that many of my students are scared of math and don’t want to ever do it again and that’s okay. But they need it for their degree, so I want to make it as fun as possible.”

Boyle observed Yosko teaching her calculus and algebra classes. He said he is eager to someday share his passion just like Yosko.

“I just get excited about teaching others what I get excited about,” Boyle said. “I want others to be just as interested in math as I am.”
St. Joseph shadow
Benjamin Boyle
Published: Wednesday, 26 October 2016

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