Erik Ruhmann makes his way to WA


Sophia Keang

Erik Ruhmann: a new algebra teacher.

Sophia Keang, Staff Writer

Erik Ruhmann, new algebra teacher, arrives at WA. The Ghostwriter was able to meet him and talk about his past and future plans at WA.

Q: What type of math do you teach?

A: Algebra. I like it because it’s the building block of math.

Q: How are you liking WA so far?

A: “I am absolutely loving it. And here’s why: The curriculum I’m teaching, which is very similar to the one in 8th grade accelerated math. So that part has been kind of a nice transition. What’s really cool is that I have some of these kids as sixth graders, and again as eighth graders, and now again as ninth graders. Plus, I’ve been coaching the ski team since 1999 for WA, and I’ve been seeing those kids as well; it’s nice to see all that together. 

Q: Have you taught any other schools in the past? If so which schools?

A: I started teaching in- 1993-94 was my first school year- and I taught at the Abbot School. Then I went to Blanchard and I taught sixth grade, seventh grade, and eighth grade at Blanchard. Most of it has been sixth grade, but last year (2018-2019) has been eighth grade. I was actually at the Robinson and Day for a little while too. So I’ve actually seen pre-kindergarten all the way to high school. I also taught the military, which are post college grads

Q: Do you have a preference of which grade you enjoy teaching the most?

A: What I find is that, is that each age has really cool aspects of it. Little kids are just so excited. They’re really cute and excited. But when you teach fifth grade, those kids have grown up a little bit, but they haven’t gone through the crazy world of middle school yet, so it’s a calming time. With middle school, there are such big changes from playing with toys to acting like the big league. And with high schoolers, to me, I see the future of this country sitting right here. Massachusetts is one of the best states for education in the whole nation, and so, it gives me a lot of pride to work with you kids because I expect great things from you guys. 

Q: What is your favorite part about your job?

A: I love it when somebody’s working hard on something and they get it and they’re like,’Oh, yes!’

Q: Where did you go to school?

A: I went to the University of Lowell (UMass Lowell) for undergrad and then went there for grad school. And then I went back again, they call it the Certificate of Advanced Study, which is kind of like a second Masters Degree and that was at Fitchburg State.

Q: When did you know you wanted to become a math teacher?

A: When I first became a teacher, I looked at the different areas I might want to teach. And the very first thing I thought of was, ‘I love math’, so I wanted to become a math teacher. But it took me a while to get there. So I was an elementary school teacher, then a middle school teacher. I also taught science in middle school for a while. And then this opportunity came up and I was psyched!

Q: What do you do during your free time?

A: Well, so I’ve got three kids. One’s at UMass Amherst, I’ve got a son who’s a senior at Chelmsford and he’s a big soccer player so I love watching soccer games. And then I’ve got a daughter who’s a freshman in high school, and she does volleyball and dance. Then, another big thing I like to do is I play guitar and sing in a band. I practice with those guys, then I play out a couple times a month. I practice once a week, sometimes every other week. And I’m also a big Patriots fan. 

Q: Have you always liked math?

A: Math always came pretty easily to me. I kind of gradually realized that it was something I could do pretty well, and some other people seemed to be struggling with it and I didn’t understand why they were struggling with it because I was like ‘oh it isn’t that hard’. And then I thought ‘oh, I must have to be good at that’.

Q: Have you ever tutored other kids who were struggling in math?

A: I haven’t done a lot of that, only because I also coached skiing and for a number of years, I was in the National Guard at the same time as being a teacher, so after school I didn’t have much time.

Q: What does being a teacher means to you?

A: As a math teacher, it’s preparing kids to be able to function and do math in their everyday lives, whether they’re involved in a math career or not. And then for kids who are going to pursue a career in math, it’s giving them a really solid foundation, for them to do great things. I started teaching in 93-94, so I have former students that are now teaching in video-gaming companies and doing math related programing. I’ve got some kids that are doctors, in the military, pilots, nurses. But as important that stuff is, it’s important to model an example for what it means to be a good person in society and I think that’s equally as important as the math is. 

Q: What was it like working in the military?

A: I was an Infantry Officer- though I was not in charge of infants. So I retired as a major and did a tour to Bosnia on a mission and to Afghanistan as an advisor to an Afghan Police General. Especially that last deployment, that was really rewarding for me because, I’ve actually taught a student who lost their mother during 9/11, in one of the airplanes. I think about that nice, quiet kid sitting in the back row of my class, I like the idea that I could somehow stop that situation from happening again. The selfless service that the guys that I’ve worked with had was pretty awesome. You have a real bond with them.