Guest Post: Methods and Enthusiasm in the Classroom by Dan Marfise

Dan Marfise, Instructor of Mathematics
Dan Marfise – Instructor of Mathematics

My name is Dan Marfise. I am 30 years old and have been an adjunct instructor with the math department for 5 years now. I have learned a lot about teaching in that time – what things work, and what things do not work. I also know that I have a lot to learn, and I am always looking for new methods and ways to keep everyone involved.

It is my goal as a teacher to make the students feel relaxed and enjoy coming to class. When I was a student, I dreaded the classes that were taught by boring, monotone teachers who seemed to drone on and on, who did not answer questions, and who made you feel “less than” for not knowing everything right away. I do not want my students to dread coming to my class. I want them to look forward to it, and I want them to actively participate in class.

In my personal life, I like to have fun and joke around with friends and family. I want to bring that type of atmosphere to the classroom, an atmosphere that is more relaxed and where everyone’s input is welcome. One way that I do this is that I don’t always keep the conversation on math. I will ask students about their weekends or ask them about things outside of class (work, sports, hobbies, etc.). One topic that seems to perk people up and get them talking is food. I don’t mind taking 2 or 3 minutes of class to get everyone talking about pizza to then transfer that energy toward the topics we need to cover. This usually helps in getting and keeping students interested in class. So if we start talking about pizza, I will call on students to help me solve the problem on the board; but I will also ask them what kind of pizza they like or where their favorite pizza place is. Something about food will almost certainly get people talking; and if I can get them talking about anything, I can change the subject back to math.

I love math and I love learning new things. I try to share my passion for learning and math with my students by being excited for them when they answer questions correctly and by also explaining things the best I can and by trying to answer all of their questions. As a student I hated when teachers did not answer my questions or did not answer other students’ questions. In loving to learn myself, I love helping others learn. It is my goal to help all of my students further themselves by learning the material in the course and to prepare them for whatever is next in their lives.


Dan Marfise is one of the college’s adjunct instructors of Mathematics. If you’d like to contact Peter, please contact the CTL and we will forward your message to Dan. Be sure to reference the post in your message.