Teaching is his passion

Teacher Feature – Mr. Tomas


Emily Torres Maravilla

Mr. Tomas refused to abandon ship, even though he started teaching at Armijo during the pandemic.

While Mr. Tomas did spend three years teaching at Crystal Middle School “as well as some time at Arlee High School in Montana before coming to California,” he is still pretty new to Armijo High School. “I started here during Distance Learning,” he said, and now is in his second year as a Royal.

He had some work experience in the real world before getting his teaching credential. “In high school, I worked at a movie theater, taking tickets and cleaning theaters after showings. After that, I worked a job at a Pizza Hut through college, mainly taking care of the Wingstop/Fryer portion of the store, but spending plenty of time on the kitchen line as well. After that, I had a brief run at retail at a Shopko before ultimately getting my teaching credential and moving to California,” Tomas said.

“My life was changed in high school pretty dramatically by teachers who, frankly speaking, taught me how to be a human being. I figured that if I could impart even a small fraction of the impact teachers had on my life in High School onto students myself, than my career would be a rousing success,” he said. That’s one of the reasons he became a teacher. “Also hanging out with kids all day is fun!”

Mr. Tomas said that starting at a new school, and a new grade level, amidst the pandemic was “terrible! Awful! Couldn’t have disliked it much more! I still loved my students, especially those who would speak with me during Distance Learning, but sitting at home all day meant I was only left with the parts of teaching I dislike,” he said. “Grading, planning, and other administrative work is by far and away my least favorite portion of the job – I do this to spend time with students, and I was alone in my apartment, a bit depressed, and struggling to motivate myself to do much of anything at all while simultaneously feeling like I was working at all hours.”

He wasn’t alone in these feelings of stress and depression. “As I understand it, many students felt the same way,” said Mr. Tomas. “I felt especially bad for the number of students expected to keep up with classwork AND run school for their younger siblings – it was wildly unfair to many, and I remain a bit appalled that we gave real grades and credit for the year, but remain grateful for the relevant credit reductions passed accordingly”.

Mr. Tomas’s experience was different than many other teachers as he grew up in Montana. He attended Glacier High School in Kalispell before moving on to Flathead Valley Community College in the same city. His next step was attending the University of Montana in Missoula, but he’s not finished yet. He is currently enrolled in National University. “I’m in school right now and did an assignment this morning before coming to school,” he said.

For fun, Mr. Tomas like to exercise, and running in particular. “Strength training is fun too, but a little more “take my medicine” feeling. Runs are a great chance to listen to podcasts, books, or music and just embrace the time to myself for around 40 minutes (I usually use a 5 mile route),” he said.

He’s played a lot of video games in his life, but has restricted himself to just two, Destiny 2 and FF14, because life is really busy. “Perhaps most of all, however, I adore film – watching movies with my partner, listening to and reading great criticism, and engaging with films is an absolute favorite pastime of mine,” he said.

While he enjoys teaching, he would warn anyone who is considering it to think in a different direction. “I love it, but… This profession needs serious structural changes before I’d sincerely recommend anyone do it. No joke, if you’re considering teaching, come talk to me in F8 and I’d be happy to give you Real Talk of what it entails. If you still want to after the fact, by all means, do.”

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