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In my workplace (a US high school) I am the sole TeX user, and have been for a while. So I'm curious: are there any other secondary school teachers (not necessarily in the US) on tex.SX? If so, what discipline?

EDIT: learning isn't a good tag for this post, but I couldn't find a better one and don't have sufficient reputation to make a new one. If there's a more appropriate existing tag, let me know.

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This question came from our site for users of TeX, LaTeX, ConTeXt, and related typesetting systems.

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I've floated between industry and academics over the years but I'm currently teaching mathematics in a US public high school.The multivariable calculus teacher and I use the sagetex package to create randomized tests (to combat cheating). I don't know of anyone else at the school using it. At my previous school I helped convert a math teacher to LaTeX. With respect to math, I suspect you'll find very few teachers using it:

  1. There's little need to use LaTeX. Most schools have resources such as software to generate tests and many teachers look to give multiple choice choice tests (to save time in grading).
  2. LaTeX has a huge learning curve and teachers don't have the time to learn as they go. If a teacher wants to create a test with a Name, followed by a line for the student name,on one side of the paper and Class, followed by a line for the student's class, on the other side they quickly run into issues of creating a line and then they find LaTeX ignores the spacing. Simple little things that aren't easy to find unless they've got the time and patience to wade through documentation (or had the knowledge to head to this site). That's why I suggested a functional guide to LaTex for this question.
  3. The profile of LaTeX users that I've seen amongst math teachers is they've already learned LaTeX so they don't have the learning curve to face; the multivariable calculus at my school and I have PhDs so we had years of practice with LaTeX. Had I not been around for help, I doubt that the teacher I converted to LaTeX would have made the plunge.

With no need to use LaTeX, limited free time to learn LaTeX, and a big learning curve it's unlikely a teacher will find LaTeX and devote the time to learning it. Add in the fact that about 1/3 of high school math teachers don't have a degree in math and it's easy to see why it's not going to be popular.

  • What are their degrees in, if not math? – crmdgn Dec 24 '13 at 20:55
  • I've never heard any data on that. Information is usually presented like this "Among new teachers...in 2008-09, 30 percent had majored in one of those subjects." or here "Less than half of all high school mathematics teachers surveyed had a major in mathematics. Almost one-third did not have either a major or a minor in mathematics." – DJP Dec 24 '13 at 22:38
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    Finally found the data you asked about here; you'll see, for example, that 5.6% of math teachers have a physical education degree and 3% have an English degree. There must be double majors as percents don't add up 100%. – DJP Dec 24 '13 at 23:04
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one of the talks at the recent tex users group meeting in tokyo (tug 2013) was on this topic.

the talk, by Yasuhide Minoda of the Tokyo Educational Institute (Tetsuryokai) was not written up for publication, but his abstract and slides are on line, linked from the tug 2013 program page. the talk, entitled "TeX in educational institutions", occurred on wednesday, 23 october, at 16:30.

i don't know whether Minoda-san or any of his colleagues participate in this forum, but i will arrange to call his attention to this question.

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I teach multivariable calculus, AP Physics C, and precalculus at a US private school and use LaTeX extensively, though I learned LaTeX pursuing degrees in math and physics. I primarily use LaTeX to create custom homework assignments, which students seem to enjoy more than their book problems. Recently, tikz and pgfplots have made my life much easier.

The AP Calculus teacher at my school is a recent college graduate with a degree in math who never learned LaTeX, but knows of its existence. I am trying to convince him to learn LaTeX. My hope is that with good templates and me as a resource, he will learn some basic LaTeX. He has seemed extremely excited by pgfplots, especially by the possibility for automatically drawn Riemann sums (Placing coloured rectangles on a plot, using points from the plot - Riemann Sums).

I doubt that any other teachers at my school would be interested in learning LaTeX (or would benefit from it). But I can imagine that as more young, math/physics/cs grads become teachers its use could spread.

  • Incomplete sentence "He li". – Faheem Mitha Jan 6 '14 at 16:20
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I teach Mathematics, Physics, Astronomy in a German "Highschool", well comparable with a college somehow.

None of my colleagues uses LaTeX unfortunately, rather Word or OpenOffice/LibreOffice and my oldest colleague provides worksheets with a typewriter and is literally glueing images and texts together, before inserting it into the copier ;-)

I have done multiple presentations on Physics and Mathematics curricula topics with beamer, for its easy reusability (topics do not change that much or often)

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I have worked for years with kids and teachers in grades K-12. I use TeX for handouts I prepare, but (sigh) Word when I'm putting together material teachers may want to modify or adapt. They don't know TeX. Their jobs are hard enough (harder than mine, for sure) - they've no time for the TeX learning curve.

I've begun asking all my undergraduate mathematics students to turn in homework in TeX. I give them TeX source in the pdf this way. Perhaps those who go on to teach will use TeX.

\usepackage{verbatim}

\newpage
\section*{What this looks like in \LaTeX}

\verbatiminput{\jobname}

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