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Gambia and Ghana RPCV Ralph Schubothe adds fun to math
Gambia and Ghana RPCV Ralph Schubothe adds fun to math
Teacher adds fun to math
FOREST GROVE -- Ralph Schubothe teaches math, but his room at Forest Grove High School looks more like a home economics class.
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A plaid pillow sewn with beads and equations hangs from the back wall. A felt scroll shows how to calculate integrals. Jeans and a baseball T-shirt scribbled with fractions hang above his desk.
The projects serve as final exams for his classes, where he helps students defeat mathphobia through hands-on learning. In his eyes, all students should try their hand at sewing a calculus pillow.
"If you make math interesting, they enjoy it," Schubothe said.
Making math interesting to high school students has earned the 30-year teaching veteran more than half of his dozen awards.
His most recent is from the Oregon Academy of Science, which named him outstanding kindergarten-12th grade math or science teacher. Each year, the group of science researchers and educators chooses one teacher who fulfills the group's aim of promoting science education and research.
Schubothe chairs the math department in Forest Grove, but his reach spans the state. He has served as an Oregon Math Leader for 20 years, he said, and as a member on the state panel for education testing for 10 years.
"He's always focused on the big picture and doing the best for kids," said Ginger Redlinger, education specialist in mathematics for the Oregon Department of Education.
His devotion extends to his home as well. Jim Specht, a friend and Hillsboro math teacher, said Schubothe lets the Oregon Council of Teachers of Mathematics store stacks of paper in his basement.
"He's a person who you can count on," Specht said.
Schubothe majored in math at Whitman College in Walla Walla. He began his teaching career in the African country of Gambia, during a two-year Peace Corps stint.
He then bounced among rural Oregon school districts and far-off locales. After Gambia, he taught in Woodburn, then flew to Ghana for another Peace Corps mission. He held a five-year post in Heppner, followed by a trip to Germany teaching for the Department of Defense. Schubothe then landed in Bandon for a year.
"I do enjoy rural Oregon," the soft-spoken teacher said. "It's quiet. I enjoyed raising my kids in the sticks."
He and his wife packed up their two daughters yet again and moved to Banks. After eight years, he moved to Forest Grove High, where he has taught since 1995. In the past few years, he has been training teachers at Pacific University and Portland Community College.
Neophyte instructors cling to Schubothe for support, said Camille Wainwright, professor of science education at Pacific. When a teaching intern arrived at Forest Grove High last year, he met with her almost every day after school.
"He let her do a lot of talking, and sometimes, some crying," Wainwright said.
At the high school, students like that he's down to earth. He doesn't yell, and he rides his bike to work every day.
"He teaches without being a teacher," said senior Matt Greeley, 17.
Plus, he's funny.
"What will you wear for pi day?" Schubothe asked his calculus class last week.
To him, March 14 is really a day to celebrate the irrational number 3.14, which happens to be the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Students take a break from integrals and talk about wearing pie tins.
In his way, said senior Sophia Sansone, 17, Schubothe imparts more than ways to calculate the arc length of a circle.
"He teaches you that learning is an enjoyable thing," Sansone said. "It's not something you're forced to do by the government or your parents or to get ahead in life."
Shirley Dang: 503-294-5962; firstname.lastname@example.org
When this story was prepared, here was the front page of PCOL magazine:
This Month's Issue: August 2004
Teresa Heinz Kerry celebrates the Peace Corps Volunteer as one of the best faces America has ever projected in a speech to the Democratic Convention. The National Review disagreed and said that Heinz's celebration of the PCV was "truly offensive." What's your opinion and who can come up with the funniest caption for our Current Events Funny?
Exclusive: Director Vasquez speaks out in an op-ed published exclusively on the web by Peace Corps Online saying the Dayton Daily News' portrayal of Peace Corps "doesn't jibe with facts."
In other news, the NPCA makes the case for improving governance and explains the challenges facing the organization, RPCV Bob Shaconis says Peace Corps has been a "sacred cow", RPCV Shaun McNally picks up support for his Aug 10 primary and has a plan to win in Connecticut, and the movie "Open Water" based on the negligent deaths of two RPCVs in Australia opens August 6. Op-ed's by RPCVs: Cops of the World is not a good goal and Peace Corps must emphasize community development.
Read the stories and leave your comments.
|By mustapha bambo jatta (78.80-203-188.nextgentel.com - 220.127.116.11) on Tuesday, November 08, 2005 - 8:17 am: Edit Post|
i will like to get intouch with apeace coorp volunteer by the last name RANDOLF,who has been my teacher in the gambia from 1978 to 1979 at a school call the gambia muslim high school in BANJUL.He was working with the AMERICAN peace corps. My father was then working at the peace corps office as a watch man.It will be very good if you will help me to get intouch. i AM NOW stating in Norway, maraid and have two nice children.I will be happy to hear from him again. He has played a very important roll in my life.If it was not him i would have never been or reach where i am now . I will like you to thank him on my behave.