Where were you born? Hong Kong.

How old are you? 27, as of July 2011.

Where do you live? California.

What do you teach? I teach people, 7th and 8th graders mostly.

Subject? Algebra and Algebra Readiness (aka pre-Algebra).

What cities have you lived in? I've lived in Hong Kong, Stockton, Davis, Hong Kong, Davis, Stockton, Taiyuan, Stockton for the final time (hopefully), Castro Valley, and Dublin. In that order, with those repetitions.

Why do you like teaching? I find the school setting to be a comforting and safe place. I continue to learn things myself. I enjoy an active, independent work life where my immediate superiors trust, and more importantly, empower me to do my job to the best of my abilities. Whatever non-immediate superiors I have play a minor role in my professional life. I enjoying working with colleagues on similar goals where we use and share our unique skill sets. Granted, not all schools are like this. I'm extremely lucky I landed at a school where all of this occurs on a daily basis.

What is your favorite color? Green.

What is your classroom management style? I build good relationships with my students by giving constant, useful feedback. I promote a safe, structured environment for students to take intellectual risks. I rely heavily on routines to get through daily tasks. I like to keep things light by telling jokes and using humor. I don't fight battles I know I can't win. Instead, I redirect - almost to the point of manipulation in some cases, but in the good way. I don't make mountains out of mole hills. I stay calm in all difficult behavior situations and use a firm, but flexible disciplinary actions hierarchy: starting with low interventions like proximity, eye contact, gestures, and moving up from there. I make a big show of disappointment to my students, but I don't show anger. Or at least I try not to.

I learned from this first year of teaching that it's important from the get go to have the expectation that my students will act like civilized human beings. Middle schoolers are a crazy, contradictory bunch sometimes. Sometimes, the more explicit teaching of proper behavior, the more they tend towards improper behavior. However, if I already assume that my students not only know, but will act upon their knowledge of correct public behavior, then much of my management work is done. I keep in mind these two things, 1) that no one wants to feel like a fool in front of people, and 2) the only ones who have the power to make you feel like a fool in front of people IS other people.

What kind of music do you like? Electronic.

Who was your favorite teacher? Professors Jim Diederich and Tom Sallee, both from UCD, although I think Diederich is now retired and Sallee does other things in math education now.

Why do you like math? Initially, I didn't. It was my worst subject - until I met physics, but that's a story for another day. I just had this crazy, stubborn idea that if I was going to study something, why not study something I wasn't very good at? 19 years of formal education later, I'm a little better at math and a whole lot more appreciative of the logic that forms its basis. I truly like math now - love it, actually. Will I ever fully understand the equations of string theory? Probably not. But that's ok by me.

Why did you want to be a math teacher? Dude. Do you realize how rare and far between teaching jobs are? Math positions were, by far, the most common openings available. Special ed may have surpassed math by now. Not sure how I feel about that.