Mr. Seth Gonzales is Welcomed to Westwood

By Ayesha Middya, Reporter

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Photo Courtesy of Mr. Seth Gonzales

Mr. Seth Gonzales has recently joined Westwood as a Pre-AP/Pre-IB and AP Chemistry teacher. Mr. Gonzales grew up in Bend, Oregon, and attended Oregon State University. Previously, he taught at Crescent Valley High School in Corvallis, Oregon. Mr. Gonzales has taught for almost four years, with his earlier teaching experiences occurring in college.

“My first teaching experience was being a teaching assistant, or a TA, at Oregon State. I really enjoyed it; I met some awesome people and got to know a lot of people within the TA community,” Mr. Gonzales said. “In fact, a lot of the TA’s I worked with have also gone on to become chemistry teachers.”

Although Mr. Gonzales greatly enjoyed being a TA, his earlier experiences as a TA were slightly unpleasant.

“When I signed up, I thought I’d be a learning assistant – there’s a difference. Teaching assistant you teach, but learning is answering questions,” Mr. Gonzales said. “I thought I was learning, but then they told me I was a teaching assistant. They handed me a recitation of a lab and I was like, ‘What?’ The idea of standing in front of 30 people around my age freaked me out so much.”

Mr. Gonzales didn’t attend college with the intention of becoming a chemistry teacher, but rather a mechanical engineer. His learning experiences led to a change in his career path.

“Although I really enjoyed science, I had a difficult time excelling in upper-level college science courses. I didn’t like listening to long lectures and often felt lost. Then, I took a class which required us to watch videos outside of class and then work on problems in class. I realized that this was a better method for me,” Mr. Gonzales said. “Before that class, I didn’t realize how much the style of teaching could affect learning.”

Due to his experience with a different learning style, Mr. Gonzales then decided that instead of majoring in chemistry, he would double major in chemistry and education.

“I had always been interested in chemistry, so that wasn’t going to change. The decision of a second degree in education came later,” Mr. Gonzales said.

After graduating from Oregon State, Mr. Gonzales began to teach general chemistry at a high school.

“This was my first time ever actually teaching a class without any extra aid. I was definitely nervous but excited; I had the whole classroom to myself. It was a new experience that I enjoyed very much,” Mr. Gonzales said.
Teaching has proven itself to be incredibly challenging and demanding, yet highly rewarding to Mr. Gonzales. He set guidelines in order to have a successful year with his students. However, Westwood has proven to be a welcoming environment. Mr. Gonzales is delighted to work with the other chemistry teachers at Westwood.

“Some of my goals are to not overburden myself too much, to accept that I am not going to be perfect, and that’s okay. I hope to make good relationships with all my students and to do my best at all times,” Mr. Gonzales said. “I am very excited for this upcoming year and can’t wait to learn more about my students.”