My [Mathematical] Heart Belongs to Vesley
If you knew me in college you would laugh at what I am about to say: I love math.
No really, please stop laughing.
Now that I have your attention again, let me tell you about my love of math, and how my heart belongs to my high school calculus teacher, Mr. Vesley. Well, it's my mathematical heart at least. The rest of it belongs to my husband.
I started enjoying math early in high school. I had a series of terrific math teachers, starting with Mrs. Granger in Algebra. Everything just made sense. The numbers lined up; both sides of the equation were equal; it was numerical beauty to me. Still, I harbored a fear of geometry and opted to take it in summer school to limit the misery that surely would ensue. My summer school teacher (whose name sadly escapes me) was able to turn my arch nemesis (proofs) into an activity that gave me as much pleasure as dancing, shoe shopping, and eating ice cream. It was logic and it made sense to me. Then came Mr. Lieberknecht, a kind and good-hearted teacher who taught Alegbra II. No teacher ever put so much heart into Algebra. What a pleasure to learn in his class.
But finally, in 11th grade, I made it to pre-calculus in Mr. Vesley's class. The man was a math ninja, but in a subtle form. Tall, skinny, soft-spoken, and calm, you could tell that math excited him, but he was restrained enough not to let it go to his head. He was a legend at Valhalla High School, often referred to by his initials BVV, or even better - BV2. Something in me just clicked when I focused on limits, functions, derivatives, and integrals inside his classroom. I enjoyed my homework; I enjoyed the classes; and I enjoyed the tests. And before you start laughing again, I can tell you that Mr. Vesley himself was surprised when I scored perfect grades on the first two tests of the year - a rarity in his class.
Mr. Vesley taught us from his own text book and he taught us well. I spent two years in his classroom and still have butterflies in my stomach when I think of how much I enjoyed first period every day. I left high school confident that I could do anything - even excel in college math. Unfortunately, one higher level math class in college taught me a new meaning of the word "limit", one that I hadn't experienced in my high school ventures. And thus, an English literature major was born.
But I will never forget Mr. Vesley and the secret fun I had in his math classes. How long will my love and appreciation for him be strong? Infinitely, of course.
Mr. Vesley was a good sport - here he is pictured with a student's Halloween costume.