Teacher Feature | The Limit of Possibilities Does Not Exist

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Teacher Feature | The Limit of Possibilities Does Not Exist

Joel Bejarano Alanis

Joel Bejarano Alanis

Joel Bejarano Alanis

Leila Harper, Beyond the Gates Editor

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Mr. Derek Clawson teaches Math II and Business Math at Armijo High School. He has taught at Armijo for four years. Before that, he tutored for four years, and had a student teaching year at Vacaville High School.

Before he knew he wanted to be math teacher, Mr. Clawson was a theater major at Cal State East Bay, but, he always took math classes because he was good at them. In community college, he hit a point where he wasn’t enjoying theater anymore, but he was offered a tutoring gig. “So I started tutoring and I really enjoyed tutoring and helping kids understand mathematics,” Mr. Clawson said, “So towards the end of my junior college year, I was like, ‘Okay, I think I really want to be in education’.”

In his spare time, Mr. Clawson plays video games, builds things out of wood, and paints miniatures, “I usually just build knick-knacks for friends and family. I built a shark that was an ornament for Christmas, and then I built a little chicken, and then I’m going to build a cactus for my grandma, she wants one, so I just make small things and it’s fun”. I

If he weren’t a teacher, Mr. Clawson said that he would be in the arts, whether that be on a writing team or painting. “I watch a lot of scary movies, and I’m at the point where I get halfway through a movie, and I already know what’s going to happen and how it’s happen. It’s so foreshadowing at this point, and it’s so gimmicky, that a child who can basically memorize patterns could figure out what’s going to happen. And I feel like if I could do something a little bit better than that, then I could be a successful writer,” he said.

Mr. Clawson looks up to his family, but there’s no one in particular that he aspires to be. After a moment of thinking aloud, he said this, “I think I aspire to just do my own thing, and be good at what I do. There are artists that I think are great, there are mathematicians who I think are fantastic, there are woodworkers who I think are awesome. But there’s nobody that I’m like, ‘I want to be that person’ because I think we’re all ourselves and we’re all individual.”

Individuality is something that everyone has in common; we all have different things we want, different things we value, and different goals in life. For Mr. Clawson, it’s to apply for his grad program and getting his Masters. He knows he wants to be in the realm of teaching, but the future is uncertain. “Where I’ll be teaching, I don’t know, um, I could be at a college, I could be at Armijo, I could…you know, move to Spain, I could—I don’t know. Who knows?” Mr. Clawson said, “And, also, what if aliens take over the world next year? What are you going to do then? No one knows. So—what if I get famous? … And then, who, knows, I’ll be famous, or aliens will exists, or maybe I’ll lose both my hands in a horrific crash just like Doctor Strange. You never know what’s going to happen.” That part is true, you never know what’s going to happen. Your plan could be completely skewed off its course, but it’s important to remember who you are. That’s all we can do; be ourselves and work towards our goals in life, whatever those may turn out to be.

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