Long-Time Friends Select Math Teacher, Ralph Reinwald, Deprived of Chalkboard


Following the math department’s relocation to the new STEAM building, one essential mathematical tool has been lost: Ralph Reinwald’s chalkboard. Ralph has been dedicated to using a blackboard throughout his 52 years of teaching. Chalk has become an iconic part of his lessons that students still remember for years after graduating. “I have an alumna who is] sending me chalk,” said Ralph, gesturing towards a stash of chalk sticks stowed in his desk.  

Whiteboards and a smart board have been installed in the new classroom, but modern doesn’t always mean better. Ralph detailed the problems he’s had with these new installations. “Take the whiteboard: if you press down too hard, you start to lose a lot of ink, it starts to smear easily and I need to force myself to write intelligibly,” he explained. “So I need a blackboard.” The smart board has proved to be “unusable.” 

However, this issue hasn’t only impacted Ralph. One Multivariable Calculus student, May Colgan ‘23, has noticed how the absence of a chalkboard has affected the class. “Ralph’s handwriting is unreadable on the whiteboard,” May said jokingly. The whiteboard has made taking notes, deciphering graphs, and understanding the material much more difficult. 

Students have also pointed out how a chalkboard is more sustainable than a white board. Jack Kessler ‘23 expressed concern about the amount of white board markers that have dried out. “[Currently], white board marker casualties are at an all time high,” he explained. 

Additionally, Ralph owns a tremendous collection of chalk that he fears will be put to waste. “This, this is the aristocrat of chalk,” said Ralph, presenting his Hagoromo chalk, the most exclusive and desired brand in the mathematician world. Hopefully, this Ferrari of chalk won’t need to wait too long until it’s taken out for a spin again. “People have been promising me a board, but I haven’t seen it yet. So I don’t know where it is hiding,” said Ralph.
Sarah Kelly, Upper School math teacher and service coordinator, has been working hard to obtain a chalkboard. “It has been incredibly challenging to find places that still have chalkboards on wheels,” said Sarah. “I’ve spent hours searching Amazon, Staples, and other office supply stores, but they have all been out of stock. Apparently, Ralph knew something we didn’t know about how valuable and versatile chalkboards can actually be!” Ralph’s students have proposed solutions to this problem such as chalkboard paint or contact paper as a last resort, but nothing can replace the real-deal. For now, all we can do is wait.