Teacher Feature: Duane Farnsworth of math

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]One would think that when someone pursues a career in math or English, for example, they would likely have always had a liking for the subject. Math professors are supposed to love math, and English professors are supposedly to have a passion for writing, right?
For mathematics professor Dr. Duane Farnsworth, that has not always been the case.
A 2007 graduate of the University at Buffalo, of The State University of New York, Farnsworth began teaching for the Clarion University math department three years ago.
Within the department, he takes on a variety of roles, teaching courses ranging from excursions, elementary school math, calculus 1 and 2, and many more.
However, Farnsworth has not always viewed math as “fascinating. I had a lot of trouble with it. In high school I hated math. The only math course I sort of liked was geometry.”
He continued with a hesitant smile, “[In math] you are always told, ‘this is how you do this, and this is how you find that.’ But I wanted to know why. I would actually screw up on problems in school if I wasn’t told why you had to do certain things.”
Farnsworth pursued his doctorate in mathematics because he “wanted to understand more about it. Once you pursue your ideas, it sort of grows on you.”
Although he said that he is emotionally drained after his day full of lectures, he finds that just teaching students reaps its benefits.
“Teaching is an extroverted job,” he said, “and I am introverted so I guess that’s why it is sort of tough for me to make it through the day. But I love when students talk to me enthusiastically about the subject.”
“I have an independent study student right now, and he constantly reminds me of myself when I was first starting out, always asking why,” he said.
Farnsworth said he hopes to continue inspiring students to ask why in their math classes.
“I hope that overall, the courses, students and my teaching improves,” he said.
In his spare time, Farnsworth enjoys running and tinkering with computers as an open software enthusiast.
During Farnsworth’s freshman year of high school, a curious event took place at his home.
“The summer of my freshman year,” he said, “my house was destroyed by a tornado. I lived in the eastern part of Ohio then. My family and I were all home at the time and had to run down to the basement once we heard the roaring winds through our chimney.” He laughed and then added, “We came up and the three-car garage was just a concrete platform and majority of the house was gone. But we rebuilt the same, stupid house in the same spot the next year. Everyone was OK, the cats were OK, and days later people would find papers and pictures of ours miles away. The cars were in the yards, and the snow blower was all the way down by the road. It made for a very interesting freshman year of high school.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_facebook type=”standard”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_tweetmeme type=”horizontal”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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