A Jule like no other
“Gasp. A composition.”
一Julie Welling, Calculus teacher
Few classes are as revered by college admission officers as AP Calculus. With a rigorous course of derivatives and definite integrals, a capable and engaging teacher is vital to student success. No teacher is as competent and thoughtful as Julie Welling, the LPHS AP Calculus instructor.
This is Welling’s 44th year of teaching a math class. She has taught every math class offered by the high school, with the exception of Prob & Stats; she leaves that to Mr. Olson. Before she began her position at LPHS, she was an algebra teacher at Kesling Middle School for 13 years. Welling’s experience as a teacher has lent a helping hand to many students.
“She actually helps us understand; that sets her apart. I think by the end of the year, I’ll be ready for the test because she’ll give us reviews and help us understand,” Jake Thode, senior, said.
Welling did not always know that her life would be devoted to math. For a short time, she was torn between two subjects.
“When I was deciding my major, I couldn’t decide whether to choose English or math. My father said I couldn’t go to college until I chose a major. I chose math, and my first English class was so bad, I stayed in math. It’s been a good fit,” Welling said.
While her genius with the subject is a gift to her students, her personality and style make Welling an even better teacher.
“At the beginning, you have to understand her sarcasm and that she’s always trying to help you. She’s caring, but she also kinda lets you struggle for a little bit to let you figure it out on your own rather than spoon feeding answers to you. She has a lot of knowledge about Calculus, and she knows how to teach it to teenagers. I think it’s really funny when we’re doing derivatives, and she gasps like she’s so surprised,” Emily Wilmsen, senior, said.
Welling and her sarcastic, caring personality have proven results. The AP exam, which is taken in May after three trimesters of the course, is scored one through five, with five being the best possible score. With a class as difficult as AP Calc, most people expect the AP test scores to be low. Welling, however, expects greatness, and her teaching helps the students deliver.
“The students who work until the test get fours and fives. If they ask questions and are willing to work hard, they do well in math. I believe part of maturing is not backing away from a challenge. All math is possible if you are willing to try,” Welling said.
Welling encourages this success in her students in every way possible, from the repetition of cheesy expressions to help students memorize the chain rule, to speedily flipping through flashcards in less than 10 seconds. Welling gives her students the tools needed to do well, even if that is as simple as encouragement.
“The first test, she gave us these little treat bags, with a couple candies, a pencil, a good luck note. It made us all feel really good about the test,” Katerina Shubble, senior, said.
This care for her students’ in-class success translates to a care for her students that exists even outside of the classroom.
“She’ll do whatever is necessary to help her students succeed, whether it’s staying late, coming in early, or reteaching. She makes sure she goes to one sporting event, or band concert, or choir concert, every season so that her students see her outside of the classroom, too,” Erin Parker, a friend of Welling, said.
There are few teachers as devoted to their subject and their students as Welling, and even fewer that are as entertaining as Welling can be.
“She’s one of my best friends on Snapchat; we Snap often. Her snaps are far better than mine. She has them all down, from the bunny ears to the Pokemon one. She’s an amazing Snapchatter,” Parker said.
While the thought of a class as rigorous and advanced as Calculus may cause nerves in even the nerdiest of math fans, Welling is sure to mollify those nerves and prepare any student for success. She is invaluable and irreplaceable to LPHS.