By JACOB RAMOS
What about science interested you to pursue it as a career?
“My science teacher at Wilson named Mr. Dobrenen. He was very lively, and always connected everything he taught to real-life situations. His class was very fun and hands-on.”
If given the opportunity, what other subject(s) would you like to teach?
“I would like to teach psychology because that was my minor in college.”
What do you hope students will learn from you, other than science?
I hope they can hear the stories I tell and use them to help them in the future when they encounter [life-problems] of their own. Whether it is business or personal-wise, I hope they can learn life skills. Teachers are here to give lessons in life.”
Apple juice or orange juice?
“Apple juice, because I like the sweetness.”
Would you rather read the book or watch the movie first?
“I would rather read the book because I prefer the suspense.”
In college, did you plan on being a teacher or did you have a career change?
“I kept teaching open as an option. I was either going to do medicine or teaching, but I was not sure which one I would like more. I took medical exams and began volunteering at hospitals. I was extremely impressed by the doctors at the hospitals and their passion.”
What aspect of science/chemistry do you find most compelling?
“I think it is the fact that it is the perfect mix of math, but also conceptual thinking.”
What do you use as motivation to be a better teacher?
“For me, trying to help people learn is my best motivation.”
What is your favorite game/book/movie?
“My favorite video game is Super Smash Brothers. My favorite movie is District 9.”
Pizza or pasta?
“Pizza! I like pineapple and sausage.”
What about Wilson do you look forward to every year?
“I look forward to seeing new students every year. I want to accept the challenges of each year in a good way, academically and athletically.”
Do you prefer hands-on learning or learning by the book?
“I think a mixture of everything is best. Students learn differently, that is part of the challenge.”
When you were a student, was there any teacher/coach you looked up to?
“My high school cross country coach, Bob Palmer and my math teacher Don Turley. They each had huge impacts on my life.”
How do you pass time when you are not working?
“I like to travel with my wife. I have eight grandchildren and two foster grandchildren who I enjoy spending time with.”
Are you an early morning person or a night owl?
“By choice, early morning, even though I am up late frequently.”
If you had to, what is the type of science you would specialize in?
“Biology, that is what my major was in college. Everything we do involves life, biology is the most important thing because we are alive.”
If you were not a teacher, what job would you like to have?
“I would definitely be a marine biologist doing research work on climate change.”
Who and/or what have helped your growth as a teacher?
“My students help me grow. Every year there are different challenges and different needs each student may have. With students becoming more technologically savvy, teachers have been trained to cater to that need.”
Who is your favorite athlete?
“Kobe Bryant. His mentality and work ethic make him a favorite.”
What is your most trustful way to manage time?
“I just update all important events on my Google Calendar and set up reminders so I do not forget anything.”
What is one thing you would like to improve on as a teacher?
“I would like to work on giving better feedback to students. I think all teachers could benefit from improving on that.”
What is your approach to helping a struggling student?
“I can help people one on one. There are multiple ways to help students.”
What made you choose science as a career?
“I was a professional athlete in my mind, but I was working in sports medicine. I ended up quitting sports medicine and started teaching, and I loved it.”
What is your favorite weekend activity?
“I am a coach, so I do not get weekend activities. [However, I always make time to] spend time with my family.”
Pop music or rock music?
“I will listen to country, rock, death metal, even hip-hop. I am not a big pop fan.”
What is your greatest accomplishment as a teacher?
“My greatest accomplishment would be when students understand the material without getting frustrated.”
Why is it important for young people to learn about science?
“Science is [constantly] around us. To understand why things are the way they are, science is the answer. We can create an educated community using science.”
Do you learn from students, if so, how?
“Absolutely. Students bring new questions every day. They are more connected to changing trends I may not be aware of. They bring plenty of ideas to the table that science can answer. Science is always changing and being able to learn from other people is a plus.”
Summer or Winter?
“Summer for sure, because I am [on vacation] and I love the weather and beach.”
Baseball or Basketball?
“Basketball, I am a Laker fan for life.”
If you could go back to any point in your life, what would you choose?
“I would go back to my childhood, up until the time I was 14.”
How has being a teacher impacted your life?
“It has been good. I was once a student and it gives me a perspective on what I can do to help students from the other side.”
What are some things you put into teaching you feel are most special?
“For me, it is connecting with students academically and personally. I want to know their interests, goals and hobbies. I want to know the little things.”
Spring or fall?
“Spring. Both are nice but I prefer spring. After the winter, life comes back.”
What is your favorite food?
“Definitely Vietnamese food. I also love steak.”