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The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

Math Teacher Mr. Mathew Deram is Dedicated to Encouraging Student Growth

Smiling+behind+his+desk%2C+Mr.+Deram+prepares+for+upcoming+AP+Precalculus+and+Calculus+AB+lessons.+Beginning+his+first+year+at+Westwood%2C+Mr.+Deram+is+especially+excited+to+teach+students+eager+to+learn%2C+and+foster+a+positive+learning+environment.
Bella Yi
Smiling behind his desk, Mr. Deram prepares for upcoming AP Precalculus and Calculus AB lessons. Beginning his first year at Westwood, Mr. Deram is especially excited to teach students eager to learn, and foster a positive learning environment.

Walking into Mr. Deram’s classroom on the first day of school, confused students crowd opposite sides of the room and squint at the board. Displayed on the board is a nearly indecipherable, grainy black and white ink photo of a cow. The photo is captioned “Do you know what this is?”. This activity, which he calls “boot camp”, encapsulates his teaching philosophy, as it is meant to demonstrate that not everyone will see the cow, or the “aha” moment of a problem, the first time it’s taught.

Mr. Mathew Deram’s passion for teaching math began when he was in seventh grade, helping his classmates with their algebra homework.

“I was like, this is really fun, I should be a math teacher,” Mr. Deram said. “And then I became a math teacher.”

To Mr. Deram, it’s simple: math has always been his passion. At his high school in Illinois, he took many math classes in school, was on the Math Team, and participated in math extracurriculars outside of school. After graduating from St. Olaf College in Minnesota with a degree in Math and Physics, Mr. Deram taught math for five years at Vista Ridge High School, four years at Liberal Arts and Science Academy, and two years in Albuquerque before moving to Westwood, where he teaches Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus AB and AP Precalculus. 

“You can usually use logic to solve math problems, [so] it made sense to me,“ Mr. Deram said. “I really liked it because I was good at it.” 

Though Mr. Deram excelled at math, he acknowledges many students approach the subject with fear, so he wants to be able to give all of his students the opportunity to get help and receive encouragement. The transition to teaching at Westwood excites him because he believes the students are especially motivated and try hard to learn. 

“It’s really exciting to get here, and at 8:15 there’s people in my room asking for help,” Mr. Deram said. “At my school in Albuquerque, that wasn’t really the case, so it’s really refreshing.”

Outside of school, Mr. Deram pursues multiple hobbies- among them is learning languages. In high school and college, Mr. Deram learned Spanish and Chinese, and when he studied abroad in Hungary, he picked up some Hungarian. He learned Italian for a vacation that he took, and then Russian and Scottish for fun. 

“I’m currently learning Portuguese because we’re going to Portugal for Thanksgiving next year,” Mr. Deram said. “If I know I’m gonna travel, I’ll try to learn a little bit of that language.”

To Mr. Deram, languages are fun to learn because of their unique patterns and sentence structures, and because he enjoys learning how to say different phrases in a variety of languages. 

“It’s not like math, but it’s just something that I can do,” Mr. Deram said. “I do a bit of Duolingo every day to keep my brain active.”

Throughout this year, Mr. Deram hopes to facilitate student success in AP Calculus AB and AP Precalculus, as well as encourage all students to try their best in his classes. Students seeing the “aha” moment in difficult math concepts is the true reward for Mr. Deram, and it reminds him why he began teaching in the first place.

“At the end of the year, when we can sort of celebrate the fact that we’ve done a lot of stuff, we feel accomplished,” Mr. Deram said. “That’s really rewarding for me.”

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About the Contributor
Bella Yi
Bella Yi, Heritage Campus Life Editor
Class of 2026 Howdy!! I’m excited to be on student press this year and can’t wait to create for the Horizon and Heritage. In my free time, you can find me playing video games, playing piano, baking, painting, and cracking bad jokes.

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