Although he is a math teacher, Taylor Dieffenbach loves to engage in discussions about books and movies with both friends and people he has just met. He enjoys playing chess, and the Massachusetts native is planning on running the Boston Marathon this April. Dieffenbach taught a course here over the summer, so he is no stranger to the building this school year.
What teaching experience do you have?
When I was working in a middle school in Newton last year, which was my first year working in a school, I remember sometimes getting mixed up with material. But I think that is something that happens when you’re presenting anything to a group of people. I think it’s important to recognize that mistakes can happen. Just because I’m a teacher, that doesn’t mean I’m an expert in anything or immune to mistakes. The important realization is that part of teaching and working in education is learning by navigating mistakes. That leads to what I see as positive experiences in teaching. We’re in it together, approaching the same thing together.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
I like math, and I like talking about math. I like the sensation, personally, of going from struggling to grasping a concept in math. I think that’s a really satisfying feeling. So when I’m able to contribute and be a part of the path that students takes from not quite comprehending something, to comprehending that concept, that’s a really satisfying feeling. I think that it’s just sort of fun to be able to deal with something that’s a totally conceptual subject and have a sensation of satisfaction when you move from misunderstanding something to understanding.
What was high school like for you?
I went to high school in Wayland, so I’m from this area, and in a lot of ways, it’s similar. It was smaller, probably 45 percent the size of Brookline High School, so that’s different. Brookline High School is a noticeably larger environment. There is a little more anonymity within the entire community, just because it’s more than twice as big. Brookline is a little bit more integrated into the metro area, certainly more so then Wayland was. I think the feeling of being in this geographical location, and in this building, is a little different. But I think that the high school is a good school, and it emphasizes the community, and I think that was similar in my own high school as well.
What were you most nervous about and excited for coming to the high school?
Well, there’s a pretty high standard for quality of instruction, and this is a school that I think a lot of teachers would really like the chance to work at. I guess that translates to pretty high expectations for teachers, and I recognize that as a new teacher, I will face certain challenges. Despite those challenges, I’m living up to a standard that exists here and offering high quality instruction in class. I’m really offering students what they need in order to learn effectively.