Carter in the classroom

Connecting Over Calculus, Teacher Helps Students Succeed

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Calculus, the word alone gives most of us a feeling that we're lost in a maze of numbers and letters but at Townview Center in Dallas ISD, Cullins Calculus, as they call it, is one of the most popular classes in the school.

Ben Hernandez is in his second year of advanced calculus.

Ben's into history, not math. but keeps coming back because of his teacher.

"He takes his classes like a game. He teaches us like a coach and he emphasizes that over and over again," Hernandez said.

"I genuinely enjoy it, it feels like a puzzle to me," said student Dhisha Kukalakuntla.

Their teacher Thelvie Cullins says the secret is not memorizing formulas but teaching his students how and why they work. 

"I'm able to relay calculus to my students in a way they understand it. My motto is I'm not here to show you how smart I am," he said.

His biggest motivators are quite "elementary." One is a 'Wall of Fame' which lists every Cullins student who passed their AP test.

"It's like stars, and shiny, and it kinda makes you feel like I wanna see myself on that wall one day," said Marvelous Onyechukwu, student.

They also walk away with a T-shirt with Cullins' face right on the front.

They wear it on test days. 

"We're sitting down, we all have our shirts on, it's not going to be a big deal, we're confident we're going to do it," Hernandez said.

A team, doing nothing more than understanding the material, not being afraid to work together, and having a little fun.

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