2008 Edyth May Sliffe Awards for
High School Mathematics Teaching
|Hon. Vincent Massey Secondary School|
|Nominated by: Yifan Li, Frank Ban, and James Duyck|
The Hon. Vincent Massey Secondary School AMC 12 team would like to nominate Mr. Christopher Ing for the Edyth May Sliffe Award. He is an enthusiastic mathematician who loves the intrinsic beauty of mathematics. As a former Massey student, he is one of the most involved teachers at our school, organizing many extracurricular activities and events. He is also an incredible teacher who regards his students as his first priority. Thus, Mr. Ing would be the perfect recipient for this award.
Mr. Ing often speaks of the elegance of mathematics. Somehow he always finds a way to relate math to the daily aspects of life, such as game theory to Student Council elections and how to encipher and decipher cryptic messages using matrices. One of his favorite traditions is to show the movie Donald Duck in Mathmagic Land to teach his students topics such as the mathematics of music and the number φ. Mr. Ing spreads his infectious love of math to countless students who always leave his classroom enlightened by their new knowledge.
Mr. Ing’s contributions to the Massey Math Program have been phenomenal. He manages and organizes every Canadian and American math contest (there are over 25 contests every year). With the help of a few others, he manually marks every completed math contest including those that require full written solutions to give his students a quick approximation of their scores. He also devotes hundreds of hours of his own time every year during evenings and weekends to train students for upcoming math competitions by giving them harder problems to solve. Because of Mr. Ing’s effort and coaching skills, over 300 students compete in the AMC every year. Out of these students, about 40 qualify to write the AIME, and a few even qualify for the USAMO. In addition to the written math contests, our math team also competes in regional competitions such as ARML in Penn State and its Canadian equivalent in London, the Math Challenge Team Invitational Competition (MCTIC). Our team performs quite well in these competitions even though we’re “only” a Canadian public school.
Teaching at the high school where his own math teacher encouraged him to achieve has given Mr. Ing a unique perspective as an educator. Instead of the traditional lecture-based teaching style, he prefers to teach by discussing problems. He constantly encourages his students to present solutions to problems in front of the class with the belief that true mathematics is learned from problem-solving and presentation. His classroom also has a very relaxed and welcoming atmosphere to enhance the learning environment. Another aspect of Mr. Ing's teaching style is the immense length of his tests, notoriously known throughout our school as “Ing Tests.” Many sophomores dread their first test realizing that they have no hope of completing the 6-page test within the 38 minute period. While many parents and students have regarded the test length with skepticism, Mr. Ing stalwartly defends his philosophy, “I am training you to become strong problem solvers. In the future, you will need to make difficult decisions under pressure and I want you to be prepared.” One of the most important things that Mr. Ing has taught us is that math isn’t about memorizing formulas, but instead, how to think and problem solve.
Aside from mathematics, Mr. Ing is one of the most involved teachers in our school. He runs the Anime Manga Club (AMC), helps to run the Ping-Pong Club and the Underprivileged Children's Christmas Party (UCCP) as well as its All-Night Dance fundraiser. He gives much of his own time to help out with many major school events, computer science competitions, and English field trips even though he has very little free time.
Mr. Ing is affable, patient, and above all, approachable. He stays after school almost every day to help students who have trouble with their homework and those who want to learn new and useful ideas. Because he was a Massey student at one time, he understands the daily struggles his students face. Many students who are overwhelmed with seemingly impossible problems in life, as well as in mathematics, seek his wisdom and advice. Mr. Ing has always instilled in them the motivation to persevere in spite of these obstacles. Without his guidance, many students would not have achieved some of their greatest accomplishments. Often people have wondered why he decided to become a math teacher when he had the intelligence and capability to become filthy rich on Wall Street. When asked about this, he smiled and simply replied, “I love to teach. I hope that you will one day find a career that is as rewarding and as fun as mine.”
Mr. Ing is an eager, dedicated mathematician who encourages his students to share his love of mathematics. Without him the Vincent Massey Enrichment Program would not be the same. It takes a great teacher to inspire as well as educate students. Thus, it is truly an honor to nominate Mr. Ing for the Edyth May Sliffe Award.