By CAROL LI
What is the best part of being a teacher?
“The best part of being a teacher is receiving gratitude from students who would not say anything throughout the year, but express their appreciation on the last day of school. Even if I was not really close to some of the students, it is still sweet to know that I have made an impact on their lives.”
Do you have a hidden talent?
“Yes, I can bend my finger back to my wrist.”
Why did you decide to teach Chemistry?
“I always liked science, but the hardest class for me in high school was Chemistry. [However], in college, I realized that I was actually good at chemistry, so I guess maybe my high school teacher didn’t teach chemistry well. That inspired me to teach [so high school students could enjoy learning chemistry.]”
If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
“I would choose to eat Mediterranean food such as Zankou chicken, because there is still a variety of different foods which makes it not too flavorful.”
What do you like most about Wilson?
“I enjoy the friendliness; the teachers and students are very welcoming. [My students here] are always ready and excited to learn compared to other schools that I have taught at.”
What did you do before becoming a teacher?
“I trained professional athletes for ten years before becoming a teacher. Prior to having this job, everyone kept telling me that I should be a teacher but I always [refused]. After my first year of teaching, it was the best thing I’ve ever done because I was able to interact with kids. This completely changed [my viewpoint] on teaching and inspired me to continue this [career].”
What are some hobbies you do in your free time?
“I [participate] in tough mudder, which is a twelve to thirteen mile military obstacle course. I also coach and play baseball with my kids.”
East coast or West Coast?
“West Coast is the best Coast.”
What is an important part of teaching?
“[The most important parts are] being patient, compassionate, and trying to build relationships with students. This is important because if you get to know students, you are able to understand their thought and learning process. That way, [I] am more understanding [and lenient in terms of students’ actions].”
What do you want students to take away from your class?
“I want them to be proficient in the math [skills taught this year], and [whether it be high school or college, advance to their next class being able to self-study, ask questions and utilize the book and internet as sources.]”
Do you have any hobbies?
“As a kid, I really [enjoyed playing] sports such as basketball, baseball and tennis.”
Most memorable interaction with students?
“When I was [a teacher] at Centennial High School, I took about a hundred kids to NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory because my friend was working there and he gave us a tour. [It was memorable] because it was like two worlds colliding, since my friend was an engineer and I had brought a hundred students with me.”
What is the worst and best part of being a teacher?
“The best part is learning the likes and dislikes of students and making connections with them so I can implement their interests in my lesson plan. The worst part is seeing students give up; when I see students [have this mindset], I will pull them aside and try to explain to them one-on-one what they do not understand, and that usually gives them a taste of success.”
Why did you choose to teach math?
“I initially got my degree in Kinesiology, and also received a math supplement because I know opportunities for teaching Physical Education is hard to come by. In high school, I liked math and my teachers, so I got a math credential just in case. So far, my credential has been really helpful because I usually start off as a math teacher and work up to teaching Physical Education.”
What’s something on your bucket list?
“Since I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to travel Australia because I want to see the koalas and kangaroos there. For our twentieth wedding anniversary, my wife and I are planning to go.”
What aspect of teaching do you enjoy the most?
“My favorite is when the light bulb lights up and the student understands what I am teaching. [For band], the students and I spend a lot of time together so we form a bond. Being a mentor is something I appreciate because students share their joys and sorrows with me.”
How is teaching different art different from other subjects?
“Teaching music is different because all of what we do is project based, so instead of moving on from lessons, we work on refinement. Once you understand a basic principle, you have to do it again and again and make it as perfect as possible. It is more about the journey of learning how to play the music well and performing it than being able to play it.”
How is the band dynamic different from other organizations?
“In band, there is a military hierarchy. There are student leaders that have certain responsibilities and relay crucial information, such as deadlines and performance dates; I push the leaders who [manage the rest of the band.]”
What’s your favorite food?
“[My favorite food] and go to is Cuban breaded steak with rice. ”