AP Calculus teacher joins IB program to teach IB math class

Advanced+Placement+%28AP%29+and+International+Baccalaureate+%28IB%29+Math+teacher+Benjamin+Chan+says+that+he+couldn%E2%80%99t+pass+up+the+great+opportunity+of+teaching+IB+Math+Analysis+and+IB+Math+Analysis+and+Approaches+SL+this+year.+He+believes+it+isn%E2%80%99t+difficult+for+him+to+teach+as+it+is+very+similar+to+the+Integrated+Math+3+course+he+was+teaching.+

Pablo Dollero

Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) Math teacher Benjamin Chan says that he couldn’t pass up the great opportunity of teaching IB Math Analysis and IB Math Analysis and Approaches SL this year. He believes it isn’t difficult for him to teach as it is very similar to the Integrated Math 3 course he was teaching.

Bonita Vista High (BVH) Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus teacher Benjamin Chan has been teaching at BVH for almost 15 years. According to his students, he’s been dubbed the “AP Calculus guy.” Chan has taught various math classes such as Integrated Math 3 (IM3) and AP Calculus AB and BC, but this year, for the first time, he has decided to teach an International Baccalaureate (IB) class at BVH, more specifically IB Mathematics Analysis and Approaches (A&A) Standard Level (SL) 1.

Before the 2020-2021 school year began, IB Coordinator Jared Phelps approached Chan and asked him if he would be willing to get involved in the IB program. Chan explains that he has always been interested in the IB program, so he did not hesitate to accept the offer to teach this course.     

“There was an opportunity for someone to get involved in [teaching another IB Math class],” Chan said. “I think it’s a great program and I’m glad to become part of it.”

The position opened up when IB Math A&A Higher Level 1 teacher Christina Ada transferred to teaching another period of the course. 

“There has been a lot of movement with teachers in the district,” IB Math A&A SL 1 teacher Esmeralda Orozco said. “We lost teachers and the master schedule needed to be rearranged to meet the needs of the math department.” 

Although Chan has taught AP Calculus, teaching this new IB course required him to learn the basics of the IB curriculum. Chan has been working closely with his fellow math colleagues to sort out the logistics of teaching and to plan their lessons.

“I’ve known Mrs. Orozco, Ms. Ada and Mr. Phelps for a long time, so we’ve worked with each other even before I was involved in IB,” Chan said. “We’ve always been friends so it wasn’t hard to transition to working together in IB.”

Chan expresses that it has been quite easy for him to teach IB Math A&A SL 1 as it is “very similar to IM3,” a course that he has taught for several years. 

“It is challenging since we have limited time with synchronous learning, but [Chan] and I are both treating this course as an extension of the IM3 course,” Orozco said.

For IB Math A&A SL 1 student and sophomore Mikha Alcantara, she has truly enjoyed being in Chan’s math class. Alcantara shared that Chan’s ability to be supportive with his students makes the IB experience more pleasant.

I have never felt as if Mr. Chan was unsupportive. If somebody gets an answer wrong, he doesn’t degrade said student. Instead, he politely points out that they were wrong and successfully helps us out. I am also learning from others’ mistakes. With the class, there’s a sense of familiarity so I feel comfortable”

— Sophomore Mikha Alcantara

“I have never felt as if Mr. Chan was unsupportive. If somebody gets an answer wrong, he doesn’t degrade said student. Instead, he politely points out that they were wrong and successfully helps us out,” Alcantara said. “I am also learning from others’ mistakes. With the class, there’s a sense of familiarity so I feel comfortable.”

Orozco and Alcantara agree that Chan has been a great addition to the IB program. Even during distance learning, Chan expresses that he has maintained communication with his colleagues in order to make the IB math experience as efficient as possible for teachers and students.

“With Mr. Chan as my teacher, I have genuinely learned so much. I assure you that his teaching style is effective, because I can tell he has a passion in helping students learn and he goes in depth about aspects that students are having issues with,” Alcantara said. “Even though we are in distance learning, I can just tell that in a classroom environment he would be so fun.”