AP Calculus Students Facing Added Stress

AP Calculus AB student Maria Pia Molina practices for her next test. Molina comments she is taking full advantage of the time before Passentino leaves to ask her any possible questions; she fears the future teacher won’t be able to assist her. “I think it's crucial to have a positive AP experience because it is kind of frustrating when you can’t identify your mistake and you can’t actually consult it with another person who knows more,” Molina said.

AP Calculus AB student Maria Pia Molina practices for her next test. Molina comments she is taking full advantage of the time before Passentino leaves to ask her any possible questions; she fears the future teacher won’t be able to assist her. “I think it's crucial to have a positive AP experience because it is kind of frustrating when you can’t identify your mistake and you can’t actually consult it with another person who knows more,” Molina said.

Paloma Urrea Díez, Discoverer Staff Writer

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The void that will be created by TCS AP Calculus teacher Gabriella Passentino’s 18-week maternity leave is causing stress and anxiety amongst the student population.

A thorough search for the ideal substitute is being taken care of by the High School directives and the Human Resources department of the school. Regardless of the projected process, made up by a series of several filters that the candidates pass through, Passentino is preoccupied and explicit when stating that she wants a person that her “students will actually be going to learn from and respect.”

“Yes, I’m concerned. I have two other children so I have experience having two other maternity subs. Based on what I’ve been told, the experiences for the students were not the best,” Passentino said.

The students’ biggest fear is that the substitute will not be able to make them comprehend the intricate AP Calculus topics, reviving experiences that have occurred with other classes. 

“I am very sure Ms.Gaby does not want another disaster, like what happened in geometry. We need somebody really qualified to teach an AP course. If not, it will be frustrating for both the students and the teacher,” Maria Pia Molina, AP Calculus AB student, said. 

In the past, students have mentioned that substitutes for long leaves have either been experts in the field with no teaching experience or teachers that have not taught that subject. To ease their concerns, Juan David López, High School Principal, and Passentino have created a rigorous profile for the ideal replacement. 

“We are looking for an expert in calculus and someone who is passionate about teaching,” Lopez said. “Also having AP experience and someone that can teach the class in English, since all of the AP material is given in English.” 

Additionally, Passentino considers that the new teacher should be someone who is already familiarized with Colombian culture because “transitioning from teaching at another school can be hard, and she or he would be most worried about feeling safe or secure in this [TCS] environment.” Furthermore, to alleviate student anxiety, Passentino has already planned the entire year’s curriculum.

“The curriculum for both AP classes is already set. My students can look at all of the powerpoints, they already have all of the activities for the entire year and the review activities for the AP exam as well,” Passentino said.

Ultimately, the student population is feeling the angst of seeing Passentino leave, even after she has assured her students of the process to find a suitable replacement. Students cite that Passentino is an excellent educator and that it will be tough to find a substitute. 

“Overall I think that it will be very tough to find a replacement that is as understanding of her students and supporting as Ms. Gaby. It’s very sad to see her go in my senior year and have to feel the anxiety of having a substitute that I don’t know will be as qualified,” Molina said.