by Stephanie Nguyen
Full Name: Magnet math teacher Eric Walstein
Education: High School Diploma, Bachelor's Degree of Science, Master's Degree of Science, and is currently working on his Ph. D.
Subjects: Guided Research A, Magnet Analysis B, Magnet Pre-calculus, and Magnet calculus
Previous Jobs: Local truck driver and worked at a tuxedo renting store
Came to Blair in: 1986
Hobbies: Listening to classical music and folk musicMagnet math teacher Eric Walstein sat behind his tidy desk as a few students trickled in quietly for his first period class. His stern face was intimidating at first glance, but once he began to speak, his light and cheerful demeanor brightened his serious image.
He is an interesting man according to many of his students. He has tried out for the New York Giants pro football team. However, he did not make the team because he was not tall enough.
Some students have claimed that his wife is a mail order Russian bride. He chuckled upon hearing this rumor. "No, she's not a mail order bride, but she is Russian," Walstein verified. "I met her in Moscow when I was taking kids to Russia for a math school there."
His mathematical career started because of his high school Calculus teacher. "He was having a good time [teaching math], so I decided to pursue this career," Walstein said. "I didn't know how little it paid, but it's a good time."
However, there are some disadvantages to this demanding profession, Walstein said. "There are kids who don't care, teachers who aren't leaders or know what they are doing, and parents who don't understand or care."
He stressed the importance of education through his strict and challenging teaching style, which is designed to expand and broaden the student's mind. His classes are one to two years beyond AP level math. In fact, he teaches his students college level material that he learns from his contacts at the University of Maryland.
However, many of his students are overwhelmed by his high demands. "I have a lot of students who don't understand how I teach. They come and ask me, 'This is too hard, I don't understand it, I was supposed to teach it to you.'"
Instead of confusing and failing his students, he wants to influence them. "[I want] to see what kind of impact I have on them," Walstein said. His unique teaching method must be influential since one of his two daughters is also a math teacher.
This is Walstein's 36th year of teaching, but he has no plans to retire. He claimed that he is perfectly happy teaching and prevents stress by avoiding certain people and things that he did not list. However, his vivid face suddenly turned grave as he continued. "I almost had to [retire]," he said, as he pointed to his foot long scar running up his left arm. "I had a heart attack right in school and people had to lug me right out." However, Walstein does not let life's hurdles stop him from teaching.