By Elise Frankel
When students first heard there was going to be a new statistics teacher, many were nervous or curious to meet the new addition to the math department. Most people’s fears were instantly washed away upon meeting the easy going Micah Franks.
Senior Isabel Cohn, who is taking Frank’s statistics class, describes him as, “very quirky” and said that “he makes lots of jokes,” creating an atmosphere that makes learning fun.
Notes from his harmonica can be heard upon entering the classroom he shares with Algebra 2 teacher, David Quinonez. His harmonica is his tactic to get the class quiet and get students’ attention.
Of his style of teaching, senior Jacob Smith says, “he feels like group work is better” and “he’s very enthusiastic.”
Statistics can be a complicated subject but Smith feels like he’s “learning slowly and steadily” and the course “goes at a nice, even pace.”
Over the course of his career, Franks has had a meaningful impact on students. When asked why he started teaching, Franks replied, “I started my teaching career because I thought it was the most important way I could help try to fix the future.”
Franks understands what it takes to be a teacher. “In order to be a really good, meaningful teacher, you have to be able to relate to kids and understand where they’re coming from. That’s quintessential to teenagers.”
As an experienced teacher, Franks has seen it all, saying, “I’ve taught middle school, and in summer programs I’ve actually taught younger kids and then when I was in college I actually helped teach graduate level math as well as teaching regular undergrad calculus and statistics.”
This isn’t Franks first time teaching in Alameda. In fact, he started out his teaching career in the AUSD school district. He’s enjoying the year so far, saying the best part is, “getting to know students and watching them learn and grow. It’s wonderful, one of the best parts of teaching.”
When he’s not teaching, Franks can be found rock climbing, playing magic and other games and listening to music. He also likes to hang out with his wife and try new food, go to movies and try to see a live music show once a month.
Of his high school experience Franks says, “my high school was kind of weird. I was one of the students that didn’t notice that teachers really existed. I thought that teachers that were just giving us stuff but it was really all about my friends,” Franks said. “I really enjoyed learning and i really enjoyed reading.I wasn’t someone that stressed out about grades.”
Statistics is a subject that can relate to a lot of different careers so Franks tries to make his lessons applicable to real life scenarios. “I think the most important part is hard for me to do and hard for my students to do,” he said. “It’s ‘look at the big picture, think about how what we’re learning, the habits of mind that we’re learning are going to transfer 10 years from now into some new profession, or some new job or some new challenge’.”
Franks had his own challenges early in his career, saying, “I spent the first 10 years of my career teaching in South Central Los Angeles and in the Mission District in SF where most of my students were in one of two gangs, and the kids had to worry about being shot and other kids were homeless and had to worry about where their food was going to come from other than the meals they were getting at school,” he said. “The only place they were getting food was at school. It was pretty hard to get those guys to do their math homework. So that’s a very different type of job than delving into the difference between a dot plot and a histogram,” Franks said.
“A big part of my early career was working in places where the kids had a different level of need, a different type of need,” Franks said. As for this year though, “I’m happy to be here.”