Joel's Open Road
Thomas Starr King Middle School
I really come to work with a smile on my face every single day, and that's what it's all about, right?
- While he was studying at UCLA, his friend asked him if he'd help him tutor some Spanish-speaking kids.
- He fell in love with tutoring; realized that if he was willing do it on the weekends for free, he could definitely pursue teaching as a career.
- Makes a point of not bringing out an "alter-ego" when he's in the classroom; says, "Who I am as a teacher is who I am in life."
- When he first started, other teachers thought he was just the "fun" teacher who wasn't actually educating his kids.
- Once his students' test scores turned out to be consistently better than the other students', those other teachers started realizing they should lighten up.
- He was the first of his family to go to college, so his mother didn't always know how to support him through that experience.
- That helps him relate to his students, many of whom are from low-income families, would also be first-generation college students.
- Says he loves his job so much that he comes to work with a smile on his face every single day.