Academics / Community

Mr. Chiu focuses on creating a safe space at Dana Hall

Mr. Ryan Chiu, the newest member of Dana Hall’s Math Department, has been teaching math since he was 13 years old.

Here at Dana Hall, Mr. Chiu teaches geometry, algebra 2 with applications, and honors precalculus. He also coaches Middle School tennis and is the faculty advisor of the Asian/Asian American Affinity group.

Tori Eysie ‘22, the co-head of the Asian/Asian American Affinity group, explained, “I think I speak for a lot of people when I say he’s one of the best new teachers we’ve had. Being a part of Asian affinity, he’s so welcoming and present with the club and topics. He allowed us to have our conversations and supported what we said and has given great insight into topics.”

Mr. Chiu strongly believes in giving students a safe space and time in his math classes to talk about world news and events. He stated, “I couldn’t say that spending 100% of our time on math content, that you’re getting prepared for the world,” and added that students are unable to learn well when they feel distracted or unsafe.

When shocking or significant world event have taken place this year, Mr. Chiu has put these events and his students’ feelings first and offered to use class time to discuss them. He asks students to share their thoughts on the event, to ask questions or learn about it, or to take time to process rather than do math in that moment.

Emma Beardsley ‘22 said, “He’s very willing to use class time to talk about important issues which, I think, not most teachers are, which makes it really special.”

When Mr. Chiu was growing him, he studied not only regular math classes but also in a Math Plus course, similar to Russian School of Math. He studied in that program on the weekends for four years, starting when he was 9. After finishing this program, he was hired to work as a grader and teacher there when he was 13 and worked there until he was 18.

Mr. Chiu continued his work by becoming a math and economics major in college. However, he shared, “I wasn’t sure that I was going to teach when I got to college. … Both of my parents are teachers, so it’s been something I’ve thought about for a while.” The fact that he had spent a generous amount of time over the previous decade explaining math to others and walking them through content, along with the fact that he went to boarding school, influenced his decision as well.

Mr. Chiu taught for two years at Milton Academy before coming to Dana Hall.

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