The New Face of Second Semester Math

by Destiny Gomez and Nayeli Medina

Joshua Ottoson has become a new second semester addition to Tustin High’s math department as a Pre-Calc and Geometry teacher. His sudden teaching career commenced in the beginning of this year, after subbing for about a semester, replacing a previous teacher who received a convenient job offering as a college professor in Florida. Interestingly enough, substituting was not his first experience interacting with and teaching students. Mr. Ottoson had previously volunteered at a charter school as a tutor for physics and math and also as a TA in his senior year of college at UC San Diego. Being able to teach was something incredibly intriguing to him and he decided to switch his career path to becoming a teacher. However, his intention upon entering college was not to become a teacher. He began with computer science and stuck with it for 2 years, and decided to switch to electrical engineering since he determined computer science was not for him.

Once Mr. Ottoson graduated UCSD, his decision to become a teacher prompted him to join the Peace Corps. The Peace Corps is a volunteer program that allows you to travel overseas and make a difference in other people’s lives. He was assigned to teach in Sierra Leone and lived and taught high school students there for 2 years. For 2 years he was able to encounter friendly people and meet students who undoubtedly valued their education since it was seen as a privilege. Students had to walk miles everyday just to go to school. Textbooks were non-existent, only notebooks and pencils. The most they had were 2 calculators that had to be shared among the students. Mr. Ottoson’s favorite part of being able to teach were the students, even though it was a little difficult to get accustomed to them. Joining the program allowed him to travel and experience new things while also earning him teaching credentials at the same time. Not only that, but it also permitted him to express his adventurous nature, which he was very excited about since he “lived in a mud house and learned a new language.”

Mr. Ottoson is an extraordinary person. His favorite food is eggplant parmesan and in his free time he conquers the incredible hiking trails in OC. His favorite spot is Saddleback Mountain, which, interestingly enough, he used to hike everyday until he hurt his knee about 6 months ago. He tried challenging himself to hike the Pacific Coast Trail, a trail starting from the border of Mexico that extends to Canada. Unfortunately, he only made it 560 miles in up to Tehachapi before he hurt his knee and bruised his femur. Still, he considers himself a very outdoorsy person and loves to swim, hit up the beach, and hang out with his girlfriend and their pet cat, Marley, who “ripped up a Bob Marley poster.” Mr. Ottoson has been to 27 states, and intends to visit all 50, but of course his favorite state is California: “ it’s the best place to be, it’s paradise.” He appreciates America, because “it’s home.” To top off his goals, he wishes to complete the Pacific Coast Crest and “develop as a teacher.” He happily recognizes that the math department is great, and values his “great coworkers, that teach him everything.”

To all of you Tustin High students, stop by and say “hi” to Mr. Ottoson because he appreciates every one of you.

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