An Interview With Dr. Jing


Leo Yang '22, Staff Writer

Dr. Robert Jing is a new faculty member in the math department this year. He teaches AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC and Multivariable Calculus. He also serves as an assistant coach for the Varsity Cross Country team and a dorm parent in DeWindt. Dr. Jing has started a math club at Berkshire aiming to introduce students to more advanced and complex mathematical concepts, and the art of problem-solving. I was fortunate enough to set up an interview with Dr. Jing, in which we talked about his experiences before Berkshire, his passion for teaching, his thoughts about living in boarding schools, and more.


G&G: Good evening Dr. Jing! Could you briefly talk about your experiences before coming to Berkshire School, and tell us some of your past stories?

Dr. Jing: I taught high school math and physics for 15 years at high schools, but they were all day schools. For most of the time I taught Calculus and AP Physics. I was also invited to grade AP Calculus papers 5 times. I really enjoyed my teaching experiences. Also, I taught two summer boarding schools, which is part of the reason [that I decided to come to teach at Berkshire]. I feel the relationship with kids and interaction [in boarding schools] to be better and more enjoyable. It is really my pleasure to have a chance to teach at Berkshire.


G&G: I’ve heard that you were interested in math and scientific research before becoming a teacher, so what made you start teaching?

RJ: There are two things: My doctoral research was about rocket propellants. I needed clearance to work [in this field] in the United States, which was impossible at the time. (Editor’s Note: an immigrant from China, Dr. Jing came to America as a PhD Scholar.) Another reason is that I really enjoy teaching kids, and both of my parents were teachers. My mom taught in high schools for 14 years, and my dad was a college professor. 


G&G: That’s so good to hear! You’ve mentioned that you teach other subjects like Physics, so would you do some independent studies with students in subjects other than math?

RJ: There are opportunities for that because I’ve taught honors Physics, AP Physics 1, 2, and C, both mechanics and electromagnetics. I’ve also taught IB physics for many years, so if students are interested in taking AP Physics C Electromagnetics as an independent study course, it’s my pleasure to help. Also if anyone is interested in the F=ma national physics contest, I have experience that I can share.


G&G: Talking about contests, we knew that you’ve started a math club on campus. Is it aimed just for contest preparation, or just to motivate students to enjoy mathematics in general?

RJ: The primary purpose of Math Club is to enrich students’ mathematical background and to go beyond basic math from school courses and develop students’ critical thinking skills. But the level of contests that I prepare really depends on the students’ [abilities]. In any way, I think it’s a good form of enrichment. 


G&G: I think it’s super nice for us to have a chance and see what higher level math looks like and experience that mathematical enrichment. Are all students welcomed to the club?

RJ: Yes. The contests are very challenging, and it requires years and years of endeavor, so a very short preparation might make it a bit harder for some students to perform well. My most successful event is the Mathcounts state-wide contest, because my team won the championships, so I was named the Mathcounts National Competition Coach! If more students are interested in the contest, we can prepare for them. I especially welcome younger students to join the Math Club and take the time to improve.


G&G: I really think that doing Math Club is a great way to introduce a math culture to the community. It’s a very impressive idea and thank you for doing that! My last question: How do you feel about living in a dorm right now? And aside from your teaching responsibilities, you’re also a coach and an advisor. Is it very different than what you were doing before?

RJ: I think because I enjoy more interactions with kids, being a dorm parent is much better. Also, I like sports, but I just can’t run with kids now as well as when I was young. I once ran one mile in under 5 minutes, that’s my record, but right now it’s a little harder for me. 


G&G: It’s so nice to hear from you! I hope you’re enjoying your life on campus. Are there any last words you have for the Green & Gray?

RJ: I hope more and more students come to my math club every Thursday, starting at 8:00. Also, any students can come to my office hours with any question in math, not only in coursework, but also in test preparations, SAT, etc.


G&G: Thank you Dr. Jing! It’s wonderful to have you with us, and we really appreciate your time and effort to bring more mathematical enrichment to our community!