“I know if Black kids get the skills they need, they will run rings around everybody else. I know they will be able to compete, I want to make them competitors,” said Professor Amir Ronald Glymph. The defiant teacher and mentor is a man on a mission to help Black students acquire the mathematic skills they need to compete in the career world.
Prior to teaching, Glymph was the owner of the “Jukebox Jury” nightclub in Marina Del Rey, CA. He also worked in home décor and retail.
While working at the nightclub, Glymph met a friend, who owned a private school in Lynwood called, “Eko Multipurpose Learning Center”, a place for students who were homicidal, suicidal, medicated and had criminal records.
Glymph became a school volunteer and started helping the students with mathematics. Glymph says, he was able to relate to the students. His relationship with the class reminded him of his relationship with his own children. “The students had a teacher there that they really didn’t like and they refused to attend to learning,” said Glymph. “The kids had been treated and looked at as headaches and problems, so they identified with the labels that had been placed on them.”
In two weeks, Glymph was able to build a stronger relationship with the students and have an impact on their ability to understand mathematics. After working with the students for a month, Glymph decided to go back to school and acquire his teacher certification.
While working as a teacher, Glymph noticed the students of color weren’t preforming as well as his Asian and White students.
“Other teachers at the school had the same kind of experiences,” said Glymph. “The teacher’s attitude showed they didn’t have high expectations for Black kids. Since the students didn’t do well, the teachers excused them.”
Glymph who also worked as a resource analyst, began finding ways to make math lessons meaningful for students. This led him to create a card game called, “Math Maze.” The game is a platform for skills and strategy practice and allows students to work in groups in order to build and excel in mathematics.
Math Maze teaches basic math skills to students grades 3 – 12, by using auditory, visual and kinesthetic learning techniques.
“I call it math-esteem, you build an attitude that math is something you like and from practicing you develop an attitude that this is something you are good at,” said Glymph. “This game allows students to practice skills that they need in all branches of math. You don’t see it as work, you see it as having fun and that is what helps people retain the skills that are embedded in the play.”
After 25 years of teaching, professor Glymph has retired. Aside from creating “Math Maze”, he is also the creator and director of the “Academic Preparation Squad”, a forward thinking project designed to help grades k-12 build foundational mathematics skills. More information on the educational non-profit is available at www.academicpreparationsquad.org
In honor of Glymph’s work, he is being recognized for his accomplishments at the 2017 Teacher Appreciation Event, in May. Although he is excited about being an award recipient, his main focus is to continue living out his mission.
“Our people are creators,” said Glymph. “When they are born, they have the unlimited potential capacity to be anything they can imagine. It’s only the system that leads them to believe that they don’t have the ability. But our kids have to be nurtured, they have to be given the tools and the skills they need. Then they can create a world that reflects their best interest. Without that, they are destined to be treated like undesirables,” said Glymph.
Math Maze is available in three different levels, Starter Game, Mastery Game and Player’s Game and can be purchased at www.mathmaze.us/