Interview with Mr. Mondestin
By: Shane P ’18 and Jaskarn P ’18
What do you teach and what grade?
I teach grade 11 and I’m teaching Pre-Calculus and Geometric Optics, which are my favorite subjects to teach.
How are you enjoying QHSS since you came here? What are your favorite aspects? Least favorite? If you could change these aspects, what would you do?
It’s wonderful so far; the kids are great! They challenge me, they make me work harder, trying to make the problems harder. So when I go home, I work ten times harder compared to other schools. So I am enjoying it. Least favorite aspects? If there are any, it would be the space. If we had more space, it would be wonderful. Favorite aspects, again, would be the students. You know, they’re gorgeous and wonderful. They make me enjoy the school day. The staff also is great.
Why did you choose to work here? Do you enjoy teaching?
Yes, I enjoy teaching. I was lucky enough to be chosen by the former principal. I’m here with you guys and I enjoy every aspect of it.
Why did you pursue a career in mathematics? Did you want to teach anything besides math?
That’s a long story. I remember back in the day, when I was back home, I did struggle with math and happened to fail one of my math classes. Then, I changed everything around 180 degrees. And since that time, I have said “I have to major in math,” which I did in my Master’s and Bachelor’s and here I am now. Teaching anything besides math, that’s Geometric Optics. It’s a combination of geometry and optics. I really enjoy teaching that, it’s one of my favorite classes.
Where are you from?
I am from Haiti. I studied statistics in Haiti, I have my Bachelor’s in Statistics. And I entered the United States in 1996, went to Baruch to study mathematics. I took too many math classes and decided to major in math. Then, I went to Lehman College and did my Master’s in Pure Mathematics. One day, I plan on doing my Ph.D. in Mathematics.
Where did you teach prior to QHSS?
Prior to QHSS, when I was in Baruch, I found this little job as a multi-subject teacher. During my last semester, I saw the flyer and I called. It was about teaching Pre-Calculus, French, and Spanish. So it was three subjects. So that was my first job teaching. It was at Smith High School. And once I graduated, I started to teach at Richmond Hill High School and then transferred to Andrew Jackson High School. And after that, I came here.
What do you think of your colleagues? Of your students?
My colleagues and the entire staff are wonderful, great people to work with. And the students, they are gorgeous as I said. You guys couldn’t get any better.
What do you consider your greatest teaching accomplishment?
My greatest teaching accomplishment was when I worked with a student who was really weak in math. I started to tutor her one-on-one, and you know she passed the Regents with a high score. And after that, I figured, if you help people, they can accomplish great things.
Any words of wisdom that you want to give to all the students?
Be hardworking, like I used to be. If I didn’t fail math, I wouldn’t have decided to try harder and make it my career. So any student can be the same on any subject.