Mr. Mark Schneider has been the subject of many dinner conversations and car ride talks within the Bippen family. My family is well aware that math has never been my favorite subject. My brain isn’t wired to remember equations or abstract ideas like imaginary numbers, and I have a hard time recalling concepts from Algebra 2, sophomore year. So when I signed up for Calc BC, I knew I was in for something scary.
That “something scary” turned out to be Mr. Schneider, who is anything but frightening. I knew I was in good hands when, on the very first day of school, Schneider called me by name. We were logging into Google Classroom on our phones and I guess I had a confused look on my face, because Mr. Schneider said “Cadence, is it working?” I’ve had teachers who have called me “Candace” in fourth quarter before, and my math teacher knew our names the first time we met. As someone who is called the wrong name often, that meant a lot to me.
Mr. Schneider has established such an environment of respect within our classroom, and I am amazed at how smoothly our class of a bunch of nerds handles themselves. In his class, no one would dare pay more attention to his or her phone than the lesson. Not because we are scared, but because it would be disrespectful — we know Schneider is giving us his undivided attention. He is amazing because he doesn’t have to be “all business” for us to listen. And as a student who doesn’t find math interesting at all, I know how hard it is to keep someone’s attention in class. Schneider makes you want to listen because he wants to listen to you.
Mr. Schneider, thank you for helping me realize that I really can do math. You also helped me to accept that some things, inevitably, won’t come easily to me. But I can accomplish something that’s difficult for me if I work hard. Thanks for creating an environment in which I’m not afraid to ask you a question, and I’m not afraid to ask my peers for help. You are the first teacher to have gotten me to say “Math is one of my favorite classes.” I may not get a 5 on the AP test or an A in the class, but I know I have grown as a learner and a thinker thanks to your Calculus class, and I know now that I have a chance at surviving math in college.
Mr. Schneider, you have honestly become one of my favorite teachers from the moment my foot stepped in your classroom and I was welcomed with the classic, ‘It is so good to see you here today.’ My perspective has changed entirely on math and all that it encompasses after having a class with you. I think the thing that really did it is your approach. Not only do you look at math differently, but you come at it itself with a different heart than many would take on. You don’t identify the problem in the process first, but rather the problem in the opinion first, and that makes all the difference. I can honestly say I love calculus because of you, because you had me realize it wasn’t the math I hated, but the confusion that comes with it, and realizing the problem is the first step to success, so I thank you for that.
Not only am I taught math in your classroom, but life lessons as well. Whether it be through some silly mathematical metaphor, or a comical anecdote about your life, I’m always learning something worthwhile. Sometimes I don’t really think to slow down and appreciate all that I can do and all that I have, and you’ve really opened that door for me. I realize every day I am CHOOSING to get a good education, that I am CHOOSING to push forward in my studies, and that makes all the difference in the world. I’m a hardcore pessimist and you’ve really helped me turn over a new leaf.
Honestly I think one of my favorite things this year is walking into my 5th hour and seeing Abby Dwyer, where literally all we do is talk about what a fantastic teacher and incredible person you are, entirely in Spanish nonetheless. We’ll make jokes that Friday is always good because ‘that’s when Mr. Schneider breaks out the denim on denim’ or talk about what moment you took out of your busy life to talk to us about how much we matter to you. Maybe some of it comes from the years as a psychologist, but Mr. Schneider, you can always tell how to treat a person well.
I honestly adore the fact that through everything you always affirm that we, your students, are truly great people, and sometimes I feel like you need that reminder too. You appreciate so much in such a vast way I honestly don’t know how to describe it. The fact that you come every morning early to school to watch the sunrise (and help some kids with calculus) baffles and amazes me. You look at the best in everything, and if the best is minimal, you take what’s the worst and make jokes of it until it doesn’t seem so bad, and I love that.
After leaving these doors, I feel like I’ll have learned much beyond what calculus can teach, thanks to you. I’ll remember that no matter what I do, something can be fixed with a simple ’oh bother, well, I’m still a good person,’ and that’s all I need to get me through. Thank you.