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AHS grad returns as statistics teacher

By Megan Martin

New math teacher Jeff Ma addresses his class. Photo by Alanna Greene
New math teacher Jeff Ma addresses his class.
Photo by Alanna Greene

Jeff Ma is the new statistics and AP statistics teacher, taking over the second semester for Dave Rannefeld, who retired last month.  

Ma attended Alameda High School as a student, graduating in 2006.  When not playing rugby and football, Ma says he enjoyed eating the delicious variety of food Alameda offered when he was a student.  Ma says he also loved the teachers at Alameda High because they consistently pushed him to achieve better.

After being a Hornet, Ma went to Cal State East Bay for college, and returned to earn his teaching credential.  While there, he majored in statistics and minored in math.

His first teaching job was at Hilmar High School, in central California, for two years.  Then Ma went on to teach at Skyline High School in Oakland.

In searching for a new statistics teacher, the math department interviewed many, but it came down to three serious candidates. Ma ended up being chosen for his enthusiasm and desire to really help the students learn.  Michael Lamb, calculus teacher, said “He was able to demonstrate how being a coach in rugby helps him as a teacher in statistics.  Very much an ‘I’m here to help you, we are a team’ type of guy.”

When Ma was given an offer to teach as a statistics teacher at Alameda High, he said that he took it because it would be a great opportunity for him.  Ma also said he took the job because he has always wanted to teach in Alameda, especially because “I have a lot of roots here.”

Ma also expressed that he wanted to teach in Alameda because it is such a tight knit community.  He feels that it is nice to be able to know the students outside of the classroom.  “It ties me better to student life.”

Now, Ma has become colleagues with teachers he once looked up to.  While Ma did admit “It was weird at first,” he said that he had always gotten along with his teachers, so the new colleague status is going smoothly.

Because he came in halfway through the year, Ma said that he is not sure where the students are in their level of understanding.  While he said that the students are really good, it is a hard adjustment because they are not used to his style of teaching.  Now that he is teaching an AP class, he feels that there is more pressure as a teacher to prepare the students for the AP exam, but so far all is well.

His main goal this year is “just to try to get these students to pass the AP test, and hopefully teach them some key skills that they can use in college.”

Ma said that the reason why he became and enjoys being a teacher is for the students.  He really enjoys interacting and helping the students throughout the day.  But what he most loves about the students are  they are  different characters he is exposed to.

At the end of the year, Ma loves it when “students feel really accomplished after the year,”  and realize how much they have grown as a person and student.

In his free time, Ma enjoys to stay active.  He is currently helping to coach rugby, and he started to learn how to golf.  He also loves to snowboard and ride motorcycles.  “Oh and take care of my daughter.  That’s a main thing,” Ma said with a smile.

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