Quant Questions

Teacher Assistants introduced to help students


Photo: Emma Serralles

Junior Roxanne Smith helps fellow junior Tyler Pugachev during community time Math Helpers.

While the reputation of Quantitative Physics as a difficult class precedes it, a new reputation is beginning to emerge. For the first time ever, there is a formal teacher assistant (TA) program first semester, led by math and physics teacher Ragini Narasimhan.

“I was trying to help everybody in the class and I realized that I can’t replicate myself enough, especially when they’re at home,” Narasimhan said. “I figured out that I should ask the people who have taken the class when there were only seniors taking the class and there were always four or five students who would say yes. After about a month the program would kind of collapse because they just didn’t have the time.”

As a result, Narasimhan created a formal Quant TA program, in which past students who were now seniors served as teacher’s assistants.

“It was perfect for those students who are still on campus to be able to help the next set of students. I asked them whether they’d be willing and all of them said that they wanted to be TAs,” Narasimhan said. “This year we have six TAs sitting in the Quant class, as though they’re students all in one class. They’re doing their own work and whenever there’s a problem-solving session, then they get up and they start moving around and we help people.”

Senior Sofia Pozzo had many reasons to sign up to be a Quant TA.

“I really like the class and I really love understanding the world in physics and in mathematical terms,” Pozzo said. “Since there was an opportunity to continue participating in it, I really wanted to continue.”

Pozzo also thinks that there are benefits for the students in the class as well.

“They get more help in understanding each individual concept and it’s less that Dr. N has to explain the smaller things,” Pozzo said. “There’s a thing of approachability to where TAs are available outside of just office hours. There are after-school homework groups and stuff like that, where TAs can also help.”

Junior Ellie Assadi is currently taking Quant, and she appreciates all the help that the TAs have to offer.

“If you’re walking around and you see somebody during community time, you’re like, ‘Oh, wait, can you help me?’ and it’s just super helpful to know that that’s an option,” Assadi said.

Assadi also has hopes of becoming a TA in the future.

“It’s a good experience because a lot of Quant is being able to explain something,” Assadi said. “I think we get a lot of experience with that, especially the TAs.”

Junior August Peck appreciates that the support will be there beyond the class.

“I know I will still be able to find them during community time; the support will still be there,” Peck said.