Teachers teaching teachers


Destinee Goodman, Staff Reporter

We have three unique teachers at West High. What makes them special is what they do inside and outside their classrooms. As students, we may think that a teacher’s work is done at the end of the school day. To these teachers, class work is much more than assigning homework and correcting test papers. There is much more to these teachers than classroom work with students. Ms. Julie Gard, Mr. Tom O’Hara and Mr. Stephen Callahan all exhibit the passion of teaching by striving to use their academic skills to increase the standard of excellence in the teaching ability of fellow teachers.

Gard started teaching a year ago at the Teachers College of San Joaquin County, which is connected with the San Joaquin Board of Education. One night a week, for three to four hours, she teaches College-Career Readiness and Content Area Reading and Writing to teacher candidates in training. She also endeavors to create fresh, new ideas to better prepare these potential teachers for teaching careers. “I have learned a lot about educational theories and trends in education that have made me more informed about what the current needs of the students are and where education is headed like with having our students’ college and career ready as opposed to just graduating them. I really like being in high school because I like the energy that the kids bring to the table every single day.”

O’Hara attained his Master’s degree at the University of the Pacific (UOP). O’Hara does consulting work with the Great Valley Writing Project where he interacts with teachers by instructing them on educational strategies for their classrooms. At Tracy Unified School District, he teaches a group of Social Studies educators by improving their methods to enhance their students’ knowledge retention. “I’m not trying to say I have all the answers; I don’t. Meeting a lot of good people and getting a lot of good ideas from them that I can use in my classroom and do a better job for my students is what I find meaningful.”

Callahan taught at UOP this summer in the Logic and Pre-engineering Program. He also instructed the California Science Teachers Association and the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) conference in Anaheim. He enjoys teaching at the conferences because it is a chance for teachers to share information and brainstorm on potential teaching methods. “I’ve been using a couple of the ideas in AP Chemistry that I got a couple of months ago. When I go to conferences, I get new ideas. Also, the great thing about the conferences is that teachers always give great input and great information to bring back to the students of West High.”

This is how these teachers keep their passion alive. They express their desire by diligently working to impart teaching knowledge and expertise to fellow teachers in order to improve their ability to educate all students they interact with during their teaching experiences. This goes to show you’re never too old to learn and that teachers are always teaching each other too so that they can give their students the best learning experience possible.