BELVIDERE (WREX) – A Belvidere Central Middle School teacher is known by the students as the math teacher that knows how to crack a joke.

One of his 7th grade students, Nick Schroeder, said his math teacher Chad McLarty keeps the class entertained while learning algebra.

“He’s really funny, he never leaves you hanging in math,” Schroeder said. “He makes algebra really make sense, which is really difficult to do, and I never leave that classroom without laughing at least twice.”

One of McLarty’s fellow coworker said he thinks McLarty’s energy in the classroom comes from his past as a PE teacher, and that energy helps his students get comfortable with the curriculum.

“I think that he uses a sense of humor in class to his benefit,” teacher Jim Ryan said. “Math is intimidating enough as it is so to know that your teacher is at your level and makes class fun really helps kids out.”

McLarty also has a knack for connecting with each individual student, and he said that’s what encourages students to work hard to learn.

“It doesn’t matter what we’re doing, if I have a connection with them they tend to actually go to bat for you, and actually try a little bit harder,” McLarty said.

He said his motivation to bond with his students comes from his own memories of middle school. He said he doesn’t necessarily remember what he learned while in middle school, but he remembers the teachers that made an impact on him, and that’s what he wants to do as a teacher.

Through his connection with his students, McLarty said he makes sure each student is improving at their own pace, since not all kids start at the same level with math.

“So, I try to set goals for the students, even if they’re way down here, just little baby steps just keep improving and that seems to help out quite a bit, set realistic goals for them,” McLarty said.

Ryan said McLarty’s ability to make his students feel comfortable with humor is what makes him stand out as a teacher.

“He gets kids, you know middle school level, kids are at a weird phase in their life, and he really understands them,” Ryan said. “And he does little things to reach out to them and make sure he knows them on a personal level, and that just makes kids more comfortable.”