By Natalie Mack
Being a teacher in 2020 is tough. Many schools, including Nantucket High School, have had to juggle remote learning, as well as the hybrid learning model for the few weeks that we could. As many can imagine, it is difficult for teachers to deliver valuable lessons that they need to teach, over a computer. “Remote teaching has been challenging, but I think it has been much better than the emergency teaching we had to do in the spring. Prepping lessons and activities has taken much longer than the traditional lessons,” Darren Lucas-Hayes, a mathematics teacher at Nantucket High School expressed.
Mr. Lucas-Hayes is a 5th-year math teacher at Nantucket High School. Lucas-Hayes attended SUNY Oswego in Oswego, NY to obtain his bachelor’s degree. He also double-majored in Secondary Education and Mathematics and minored in Music. In addition, Lucas-Hayes got his master’s degree at State University. Before accepting his position at Nantucket High School he was employed at Centerville Elementary School as a teacher’s assistant for 2 years. In addition, Lucas-Hayes is Nantucket High School’s Gay-Straight Alliance Club co-advisor, along with Sean Allen.
Lucas-Hayes structures his classes and lessons in an organized manner. He makes sure to clearly state and recognize new units, in addition to letting his students know how many lessons will be included within the units and when the test for it will be. In addition to being prepared and organized for units, Lucas-Hayes prepares what our school is calling a playlist, each week. For Nantucket High School, on Wednesday, we have the start of a new week. Teachers have been asked to create a playlist and post it for students to see at the beginning of our week. This allows students to know what’s coming up, and have the links and directions to everything, all in one spot. Lucas-Hayes is not excluded from this. At the same time, every Wednesday, Lucas-Hayes posts an in-depth playlist. It has explanations for each assignment, and working links that are clearly labeled.
“I really appreciate how he plans everything in advance and posts our playlists right on time. Then in class the next day, he goes over what we’re doing over the course of the next week. Just being aware of what’s coming up in the days ahead is really good.” stated freshman and Honors Geometry student Sophie Phelps.
In addition to being well organized and prepared, Lucas-Hayes has been flexible and understanding this school-year, regarding turning in our assignments. He always gives the option to turn in assignments in person, (when we were in the hybrid model), online in any format we prefer, or any other way that the student is comfortable with. “Doing math has always been a challenge for me too; I work much better writing things down when I complete problems. So this year, many of my students have been doing work on paper and submitting photos of their work. I think this has been a great solution to still submitting work in a digital format, but completing it by hand,” Lucas-Hayes stated.
Although Lucas-Hayes’s classes usually stick to a specific structure, he also allows his students to learn using online games. Students utilize Quizizz, Kahoot, along with Edulastic. He, along with other teachers, has been utilizing online learning resources to help keep students engaged while learning remotely. “The kahoot and quizizz that we do in class help me review what we learned and see if I’m able to understand the content,” Sophomore and Honors Geometry student Aidan Sullivan adds.
Just as with many other student-teacher relationships this year, unfortunately for some of Lucas-Hayes’s new students, they are only able to get to know and learn from him in either a hybrid or fully remote setting. As many can imagine, that can be quite different from learning from a teacher in a regular school-year.
“I had Mr. Lucas-Hayes for geometry freshman year. Not only was he a great teacher, but he was always so happy and positive which made my transition into high school so much easier. I’m a senior now and even though I only had him that one year he is still such a friendly face in the hallway and never fails to greet everyone with a smile,” former student and senior Reese Burns stated.
Along with strong student relationships, Lucas-Hayes also has many fellow teachers who admire him as much as his students do. “Mr. Lucas-Hayes is an incredibly warm and kind teacher, colleague, and friend. He is always willing to go the extra mile and to put in that special effort for his students. I can always count on him to work with me to make sure my students are successful in his classes.” Nantucket High School special services liaison Nichole Gross expressed. Not only does Lucas-Hayes develop good relationships with his students, he does so with his colleagues.
In closing, Darren Lucas-Hayes seems to be a diligent, thoughtful, and patient teacher and person. He has exceptional relationships with his students and co-workers. Not to mention, his remote and hybrid learning teaching skills. Nantucket High School students are lucky enough to have educators like Mr. Lucas-Hayes.