Faculty Farewells: Fouchet subtracted from Math Department

Ben Rafal, Staff Writer

After his first year at the school, Upper Division mathematics teacher Michael Fouchet is moving to Philadelphia to pursue other teaching opportunities. “I feel like I have grown as an educator and am leaving a better teacher,” Fouchet said. “Just like we encourage students to learn and grow, that is my goal as a teacher, and I feel like that happened a lot this year.”

The school’s math department stands out, not only in mathematical ability, but in faculty members’ collaboration with one another, Fouchet said. “The thing I’ll miss the most is working with the other math teachers, because everyone throws random questions about their [assignments] at one another,” he said. “It’s such a cool environment that I’ve never experienced before.”

The collaborative nature of the entire department has stood out to Fouchet, especially since he has found time to create relationships with fellow teachers outside of school. He and math teacher Varun Prabakar take the train from work each day and often do problems together, Fouchet said. “It has been really fun and is always a great way to cap off each day, and has been a really big highlight of my year,” he said.

In his year at the school, Fouchet taught two Geometry classes and two Algebra II & Trigonometry classes. He was struck by an environment where students were eager to learn, and asked frequent questions, making his job far easier, he said.

Since this year was Fouchet’s first opportunity to teach Geometry, he feels that the class has helped him grow, both as a teacher and along with the students. The best feeling as an educator is when students ask thought-provoking questions, he said.

In all of Fouchet’s classes, he assigned long-term end-of-year projects that students found difficult at first, he said. However, as they continued to work over the course of multiple months, each class felt the rewarding nature of completing a difficult task, Fouchet said. In Algebra II, he utilized marble slides, an interactive way to apply all of the graphing concepts from throughout the year. “Working with them and seeing them change from, this is hard and I don’t know how to do it, to, this is fun, has been really cool.”

Alara Yilmaz (10) feels that Fouchet’s collaborative style has allowed her to better internalize her work and enjoy a relaxed class environment, she said. “He likes to incorporate his personal life into his exams, which made the assessments very fun. He let us do a lot of group work, so I’ve gotten very close with the people I sit near,” she said.

Fouchet has made his best memories when talking with students about social injustice and the speaker events held throughout the year, he said. “Getting that perspective from people who grew up very differently from me, in a different culture and age group, is one of the large reasons why I teach, beyond math.”