Sometimes students find it difficult to discover common ground with their teachers, but one of LCHS’s newest math teachers has a very relatable goal for the year.
“Stay alive,” he said, chuckling, when asked the question.
Juan Nunez has been teaching math for eleven years, ten of which were spent at schools in downtown LA.
“It was challenging,” he said about the experience. “The kids I was teaching kind of had a lot on their plate. But I enjoyed them just as much as I’m enjoying La Cañada.”
Thus far, Mr. Nunez has felt very welcomed by his new students’ geniality, saying he’s never had so many students thank him at the end of the class period. He hopes to return the kindness by “doing right by [his] students,” by looking after and being there for them, while also helping them to meet the course objectives. He wants to make math, a subject that some find to be quite tedious, interesting by getting students to understand why certain procedures are followed.
“I think that there’s a lot of people who have had bad experiences in mathematics because things are just presented as ‘this is the way they are,’ and that’s it,” he said. “But there’s a reason for those things, and those reasons are accessible to anybody who’s willing to take the time to think through it.”
This was the method of teaching used by his Algebra 2, Precalculus, and Calculus teacher in high school, who inspired Mr. Nunez to become a teacher himself.
“When I got to college, I just realized how much he taught us,” he said. “I thought it would be kind of nice to do something similar for other kids, and give them access to mathematics the same way he did for us.”
But Mr. Nunez’s life doesn’t completely revolve around the district’s math curriculum. As a father to two young children, he finds his hands full outside of school.
“My hobby is basically making sure that the three-year-old doesn’t electrocute himself to death, and that the ten-month old doesn’t stick grapes down his throat,” he said, when asked what he does for fun.
Mr. Nunez is a passionate teacher, and LC students should appreciate his commitment to his work.