Math is tough for students.
Yorkville High School mathematics teacher Scott Roseberg knows this and refuses to waste a second of valuable classroom time.
Roseberg runs his math classroom at a fast, relentless pace.
“You have two minutes,” Roseberg tells a class of geometry students after setting up a problem for them to solve. “Go!”
As the digital clock projected on the whiteboard reaches 0:00, Roseberg tells the students to bring their attention back to him while tapping a table bell sitting next to his laptop computer.
“They make jokes about it,” Roseberg said later, laughing.
But it works.
With the students again focused on their teacher, Roseberg asks and answers questions, illustrates problem-solving strategies on the whiteboard and offers encouragement before creating a new equation for the students to tackle.
“I don’t want to be at the board for extended periods of time,” Roseberg said, cognizant of the short attention spans in today’s technology-obsessed world.
As the class period continues, the students seem to become increasingly engaged in the work and the questions for their teacher become more frequent.
While they attempt to solve their problems, Roseberg walks between their desks and keeps a close eye on their progress.
This particular geometry class is large, with 29 students, but Roseberg finds time to give each some individual attention.
“It’s a partnership,” Roseberg said. “You have to make them take ownership of their learning.”
A big part of that is making students accountable to their fellow classmates. Roseberg does this by having each student explain his or her work to a “shoulder partner.”
Yet, Roseberg’s no-nonsense approach to teaching is only part of his equation for helping students excel.
“It’s about developing relationships with students,” Roseberg said. “If you can convince a kid you care about them, then you can build respect and a relationship.”
When Roseberg interacts with students, he is aware that it is more than just the subject matter that is important.
“Adults in public schools are vital to the development of young people as role models,” Roseberg said. “I know I can make a difference.”
Scott Roseberg has wanted to make a difference ever since he was growing up in Princeton, where he graduated from high school in 2010.
Athletics figured prominently in Roseberg’s youth, as he played baseball, basketball and soccer.
Roseberg launched his teaching career after completing his bachelor’s degree at Olivet Nazarene University, later earning a master’s degree from Governor’s State University.
By 2017, after having taught high school mathematics in Kewanee, Bradley-Bourbonnais and his hometown of Princeton, Roseberg came to Plano Middle School.
There’s a considerable difference between teaching middle school students compared with high school students, Roseberg observed.
“Middle school students are very impressionable. You can get them excited about learning,” Roseberg said, while “sometimes, high school students are too cool for school.”
But two years later, in fall 2019, Roseberg found himself back in a high school classroom with Yorkville School District 115. It’s been a dream job, he said.
Roseberg connects with students not only in the classroom but on the playing fields, as an assistant coach for both the YHS boys and girls soccer teams. He also coaches a soccer club in Oswego and started a soccer program in Plano while he taught there.
Yorkville High School students are required to complete a sequence of mathematics courses including Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II.
“What we’re teaching is a foundation that they will need,” Roseberg said. “We want to help them move forward with their lives.”
Moving forward during the pandemic was a challenge, Roseberg said.
“It was rough,” Roseberg said. “It was tough for teachers because you didn’t meet with all of your kids. You’re just caught in two worlds.”
But Roseberg adapted, using the chat feature on Zoom as an example. The old-fashioned telephone also proved its value.
“I made a lot of phone calls to those who were disengaged,” he said.
Roseberg said that with teaching experience has some improvement in his own work.
“I do a better job of using my prep time now,” Roseberg said.
Roseberg’s wife, Gwen Roseberg, is the choir director at Yorkville Middle School. The couple make their home in Plano.
Scott Roseberg, mathematics teacher at Yorkville High School.
Q: Can you name a book that has influenced you as a teacher?
A: “Every Minute Counts: Making Your Math Class Work” by David R. Johnson.
Roseberg’s teaching style makes every classroom minute count, with no breaks.
“I want to maximize instructional time,” Roseberg said.