Mantikas Moves (Temporarily)


Madeleine Malinka

Boxes await the move to Mantias’ new classroom

Math teacher Maria Mantikas recently moved out of room 218, where she had been teaching for around twenty years, and into room 109, LHS’s new “Innovation Center.” Mantikas’s move, which is only temporary, will be followed by a permanent switch with computers and applied math teacher Jeffrey Bernhardt. Bernhardt will occupy Mantikas’s old room, which will also undergo renovations to accommodate his new program. According to Bernhardt, “The wall between 218 and 216 will be removed to create one large room with a raised ceiling.…The larger room will facilitate the new drone program the district will be offering.”

When Mantikas began teaching at LHS in 2001, she shared rooms with other math teachers. She was given her own room a couple years later. Over the years, she took the opportunity to make the room her own. Creative math posters made by students hung on the back wall, the cabinet by the door was filled with math jokes and memes, and the “Tree of Fives” bulletin board featured the names of every student in Mantikas’s AP Calculus BC classes who had received a five on the AP exam.

Regarding her move, Mantikas explained that packing up her many items and posters posed a challenge. She was scheduled to be moved out by Monday, March 20, and in the weeks leading up to this date, she began putting her classroom items into boxes labelled with her name. Upon entering her classroom, her students would immediately notice the increasing bareness from day to day. They made sure that she had no intention of throwing away the math jokes and posters and that the Tree of Fives would be saved and set up again when she eventually moved to her permanent room. Her old room was also notorious for its chilly temperatures (the air incessantly blowing into the room came directly from outside, making it especially cold in the winter) and its lack of windows.

Of her move, Mantikas said, “I am grateful to Mr. Sarosy and Dr. T for doing everything to make [this move] as smooth as possible.” She and her students are working on adjusting to the changes. When asked what she misses about her old room, she responded, “I miss the whiteboard.” In her old room, Mantikas preferred her dry-erase board to the SmartBoard as a method of teaching. Although one of the Innovation Center’s walls is a whiteboard, this wall is also occupied by two televisions, which Mantikas now uses instead to teach lessons. She said that this technology-focused method is a “Covid flashback” because of how much she had to rely on technology to teach during the pandemic. Fortunately, she explained, when she moves into her permanent room, she can request extra whiteboards in addition to the ones already there.

The setup in Mantikas’s temporary room differs from that of her old room. When asked whether the new room has changed her classroom environment, she commented, “The desk configuration is more spread out horizontally, so it feels like everyone is closer to me.” In her old room, she explained, the columns were around five desks long, so students sitting in the back were relatively far from the teacher; this is significantly different in the Innovation Center, which has only two desks in each column. “It’s nice to have everyone closer,” Mantikas said.

Many of Mantikas’s students agreed that her old classroom’s happy environment had been a breath of fresh air and would be greatly missed. Amelie Duch, junior and student in Mantikas’s precalculus honors class, expressed, “I feel like there was so much character in our old room, and it was such a homey environment.” Senior Regan O’Callaghan, who is in Mantikas’s AP Calculus BC class, commented of the temporary new room: “The sound echoes in a strange way, and it is very disorienting.…this room has far more distractors than her old room.” Duch, when asked if she felt her learning experience had been affected by the move, said, “I don’t think that it’s changed. I think as an enjoyment level, I like the other room more, but Tiki’s still our teacher, and we’re still learning, so at the end of the day, it’s alright.”

In her new room next year, Mantikas plans to again set up her decorations and posters. She is also looking forward to additional perks. “I can’t wait to have windows…and maybe temperature control!” she said with a smile.