Did you take Algebra 1–2 or Pre-calculus here at Jeff? If you have, then you most likely know Mr. Balman, who has been teaching at Jefferson for 10 years now. Mr. Ballman has been a part of Jefferson High School for many years and has been helping many students pass their math classes and open their minds to make math fun. Not only that, but he also makes sure that the students understand what the numbers mean or how they are related, how the equation works and why it’s done the way it is, not just know how to solve a problem on a test. Mr. Ballman has always been interested in helping those around him understand the world that they live in, the world around them.
Mr. Ballman was interested in many things outside of his job, his main interest in life is raising his son. He likes wood work, music, watching movies and T.V. shows online and doing home improvements. This is Mr. Ballman’s 10th school year teaching, he started teaching in the 2007–2008 school year. He came in halfway through the school year because Jefferson needed him to come in for a teacher that could not continue because of health issues. He is always very interested in helping people understand the world around them and wanted to share his discoveries with others. In college, he had the opportunity to tutor other college students and was actually paid as a tutor. That was when he realized that he wanted to become a teacher. In all his years here he has always motivated students to keep going and to pursue their education. He teaches in a way that so that everyone understands what is going on and takes time to answer all your questions and is inclusive of all students.
He used to be motivated by the idea of being a teacher “but now it’s just the students themselves”, he feels a responsibility towards his students. Some of the things he likes about his job are the energy that his students possess in an environment where they can accept learning and be motivated to learn, “it’s the best,” he says. He doesn’t like the breakdown of systems within the school and he also doesn’t like some of the policies that are handed down from higher up from people on the board of education; like standardized testing and how kids have to know certain things by a certain time because someone said you have to do it, “it takes the fun out of learning and takes away their creativity”. He says professors he talks to have told him they have seen it start at an early age. Mr. Ballman has had some of his colleagues at Portland State have said that “they’ve never seen so many students be turned off by school at such an early age”.
One of his goals for this year is for him to get as many of his freshman to pass the two work samples in math and get their essential skills requirement out of the way this year, he also wants to make sure all of his algebra freshman pass. He also wants as many of his Pre-calculus students that are willing to put a little bit of effort into it to get their math credit.
Many of his students look up to him as he is a good example. Mr. Ballman looks up to a lot of people and teachers as well because of what they do and how they interact with students. He looks up to Rickey Petiford for his knowledge and wisdom. His parents and professors at Portland State and his colleagues at Portland State. One thing he wants people to know about him is, “my number one priority is their self improvement through education and wanting their future success”.