Math teacher finds new curriculum

October 14, 2008 — by Guy Quanrud

Laressa Ridge has taught math for the past three years, but now she has moved across campus and is working in a new world: psychology.

Prior to this year, she has taught algebra, geometry, sequential geometry, and algebra II honors. But behind the fractions and geometry proofs lay her hidden love of psychology. For several years, she took night school classes, improving on her minor in psychology and getting a masters degree in child/adolescent parenting from San Jose State University.

“When I was doing my classes and teaching at the full time it was very stressful,” said Ridge. “I would go to class, physically sit in class two nights a week, I had a 20-to 30-page essays due in all my classes, so it took a lot of nights, early mornings and lots of Starbucks.”
Starting in August, Ridge has taught general psychology and psychology/child development, taking the place of retired teacher Jill McFarland, who taught here fore more than 30 years. Ridge now teaches a brand new curriculum, and is gaining a brand new teaching experience.

“Different things I do now is preparing for class discussions,” said Ridge. “I now show videos, do observations and many project activities.”

McFarland has been a great help to Ridge.

“She’s left me projects and worksheets,” said Ridge. “I still talk to her a lot.”

Assigning problems on the white board has now transformed into frequent class discussions about topics like child development and the biology of the body and motor skills, with an emphasis on the brain.

“I feel re-inspired,” said Ridge. “It’s a new subject. It’s a change from math to psychology. Still, my passion for teaching is the same.”

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