Ask the Professor: Mr. Tirey, instructor of mathematics


Photo provided by Emily Merrill

Instructor of mathematics, Mr. Tirey, spoke of the things students should know in order to be successful. Mr. Tirey teaches college algebra, business math and basic statistics. For anyone who has to take core math classes, Mr. Tirey’s advice will be beneficial to you.

Q: What can students do to be successful in your classes?

“Number one is come to class,” Tirey said. “There is a huge direct correlation between coming to class and passing the class. I’ve been teaching in college for eight years now. I can count probably on two hands, the total number of students who have come to class every day, done every homework assignment and not passed the class. It happens occasionally, but for the most part, if you come to class, do the homework, you’re going to pass.”

Tirey had three main tips for students in his classes and he addressed them as follows.

“Number two is do the homework,” Tirey said. “Number three is to ask questions. I know people are shy, they don’t want to ask questions. But if you’re thinking that question, I guarantee there are 10 other students in class that are thinking the same thing. You’ve just got to be brave and say ‘I don’t understand this. Can you explain it in a different way?’ Sometimes people don’t feel comfortable asking questions in class, so come to office hours and ask questions, then go to the Math Lab. “

Tirey spoke of the many resources West Texas A&M University has to offer that students don’t often take up. WT has Testing and Tutoring Services and Math Lab for students to get extra help.

“I’m old enough that when I first went to college, if you wanted tutoring you had to pay for it out of pocket,” Tirey said. “Tutoring for any class started at 10 bucks an hour. If you think equivalently, it’d be $20 to $25 bucks an hour now. The Math Lab’s open a lot, then you’re down to student services on the first floor. You can get assigned a one on one tutor and it’s all free for you.”

Q: How can students become confident in classes that are a requirement?

“I tell students all the time going to the Math Lab, that’s awesome,” Tirey said. “‘I’m proud of you for getting help’. But when you do the homework you have to be honest with yourself. ‘Do I really know what I’m doing? Can I do this without help?’ I tell them, look at the problem without looking at your notes. That’s hard for people because they ‘don’t want to waste time doing math’ but if they do [ extra problems] that, they will be more comfortable.”

WT offers a number of math courses as core requirements, and many students will take a core math course at some point. It is important to think about how to be successful in classes that are not our majors because these will also make up the cumulative grade point average at graduation, which is required to be 2.0 for all undergraduate students.