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April 15, 2013

Mr. Allen: no jokes (VIDEO)

by Jack Estrin, Online Editor-in-Chief
BNC Teacher Spotlight: Mr. Allen
Produced by Arpan Ghosh and Ian Kiefhaber



"Stevie killed the teacher, Stevie killed the teacher!" And so goes one of math teacher Ty Allen's most legendary stories. But don't let his colorful personality and humorous anecdotes give you the wrong impression about his classroom: his class is no joke. Allen has found the perfect combination of fun, entertainment, discipline and math and combined it into one unique teaching style.

Mr. Allen explains a problem during a Precalculus class. Isabel Hendrix
Mr. Allen explains a problem during a Precalculus class.
Allen's teaching style is self-described as three things: structured, no-nonsense and organized, and these qualities are apparent. He controls his class, and will not put up with anything but civility. His style ensures complete focus from the students, whether he's lecturing or performing one of his classic solo music acts. "It would crack me up when he would sing in class," Blair junior and one of his former students, Cailyn Keely, says. "His class is very lively." Orderly and lively may appear to contradict themselves, but there may not be a better description of a Mr. Allen class.

Allen was born and raised in New Orleans, La., but has harsh words for his hometown. "I don't like Louisiana," Allen says blatantly. "It was a very stagnant environment." But the stagnation evidently didn't spread to his education, as he graduated from high school in just three years, by completing "3 times 7 credits," or seven credits in each year of high school.

High school was also where Allen found his love for teaching. "I was inspired by my high school chemistry teacher... She was actually a really good teacher," Allen recalls. Becoming one himself took some time, however, as Allen did "church work" from ages 17 to 24. This included working as a minister and preacher, but not a pastor. "Don't call me no 'pasture' either," exclaims Allen. "I'm a preacher."

After finishing up with his church work, Allen got his first teaching job at a middle school in Los Angeles, Calif. teaching seventh and eighth grade advanced Algebra and Geometry. From there, Allen would go on to teach in Nashville, Tenn., the District of Columbia, Laurel High School in Md., and the local Earle B. Wood middle school. After teaching at Wood, whose students Allen calls "preppy," Allen made the move to Montgomery Blair, where he has taught since 2001. In the meantime, Allen attended college at California State Univeristy and Pepperdine University simultaneously, and eventually received his masters from California State.

"Several watches. I have several."
-Allen
Back in the classroom, Allen is known for his nice wristwatches and commendable clothing. "I like dressing in nice attire. Several watches, I have several," Allen says passionately. The watch he is wearing is sometimes subject to classroom discussion and analysis, as is nearly any given topical subject. "I like to talk about current events," Allen says enthusiastically. "The ridiculous stuff that happens in the news."

Allen has been married to his wife Denise for over thirty years. Together, they have partaken in a hobby of Allen's: travel. They have been to Paris, the Bahamas and 37 out of the 50 states. Despite being close to visiting them, Allen feels no need to complete the milestone because of his lack of interest in the midwest.

Back in Allen's classroom, Allen is teaching a lesson about business, and he has some words of wisdom for his students: "This is America, anything sells," he says seriously. Allen turns around, and completes his detailed outline on the board. He has the attention of each of the roughly 25 students in his classroom. There is no interjecting, sleeping or noise. Allen has achieved order, just the way he likes it.



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  • Jb on April 15, 2013 at 10:30 PM
    I don't think he is a good teacher.
  • Dianne Henry (View Email) on April 16, 2013 at 10:10 AM
    Mr. Allen, I love it! Our children need structure and discipline in the class room to learn! The creative thoughts are fostered in a controlled environment and the synergy happens, each child feeds off that energy that is created and they learn the material that's presented. I like the no- nonsense approach that Mr. Allen have because in a world that offers no type of structure to our children, I know the children find Mr. Allen's class a breath of fresh air and they will in years to come remember Mr. Allen!
  • viddd on April 16, 2013 at 5:28 PM
    sweeeet video keep it up my mans
  • Ben Dover (View Email) on April 17, 2013 at 1:08 PM
    Allen is a terrible teacher and always yells at his students all the time. The only reason why some people come back to his class is because of his humor. Don't just take it from me.
  • #1Allen Fan on April 18, 2013 at 12:59 PM
    Mr. Allen, you're the best. You've really impacted my life.
    • number 99 on April 30, 2013 at 9:35 AM
      no
  • Alex swag on April 18, 2013 at 8:30 PM
    I am sorry but I think that there are better math teachers than him and one of them should have gotten this teacher perfil.
    • yes on April 22, 2013 at 9:23 AM
      you are right son
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