We are proud to feature alumnus, Joseph Andreotti, who graduated from CSUB in 2006 earning a B.A. in History with a minor in Religious Studies.
I have been teaching for eleven years. I teach 8th-grade history at Lakeside School and serve as the district’s AVID site coordinator, AVID elective teacher, and am a member of the PBIS site team.
How did your experiences at CSUB help you find your first position after graduation?
I earned my degree in history with a minor in religious studies from CSU-Bakersfield. While working on my degree I was fortunate to have taken many courses with Dr. Harrie and Dr. Betty. Both were challenging, compassionate, and inspiring professors. I credit both of them for teaching the skills necessary to not only find a teaching job, but also the skills to be an effective teacher who is both challenging and compassionate towards my own students.
What career advice would you give our students?
I tell my students to not pursue a career solely based on monetary benefits, but a career that will be rewarding and that they will want to wake up to every morning for the next thirty-five years.
I absolutely love my career. I get to wake up every day to teach a subject that I love and to become a friend to 200 new students every year.
How did you decide to pursue the career that you are working in today? Was there a pivotal moment?
I chose to become a teacher in middle school while I was a student at Buttonwillow School. There were many pivotal moments. My grandparents were responsible for my love of history. They both experienced the 1930s and 1940s and shared many of their experiences growing up in that era. During this time I had amazing teachers at Buttonwillow School such as Ms. Sandstead, Mr. McDonald, Mr. Basham, and Mr. Caulfield. At an early age these teachers made me look forward to attending their classes. They all provided a safe environment that made their classrooms feel like a second home. They worked overtime to help tutor, coach athletic programs, and to deliver amazing lessons that I still remember today. At a young age I knew that I wanted to help people like they were and teaching became the vehicle to do so.
How do you foster creative and innovative thinking within your organization?
My goal as a teacher is to prepare my students for college. We read, write, and discuss various topics daily. The way I teach and the way I interact with our students is in a constant flux due to the inflow of new technology in the classroom. My classroom is currently in transition to becoming paperless. My students and I are now using Google Classroom (much like CSUB uses Blackboard) to write and discuss various topics. We use the Illuminate program for assessments which allows me to collect a massive amount of data to direct my future lessons and for the students to interpret their own data and to help them understand what standards they are not mastering.
I also try to consistently foster creativity in my classroom through art and project based learning. For example, my students recently read excerpts from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. They then participated in a Socratic Seminar to discuss how Thoreau was critical of Henry Clay’s American System. For a final project the students had to find a word or phrase that they could argue best represented Thoreau’s thesis within the excerpts. Once they had chosen their word or phrase they then created a graffiti art poster that incorporated what they thought was Thoreau’s thesis and provided an abstract that shared their reasoning for choosing the word or phrase.
What are the most important decisions that you face daily as a leader in your organization?
My most important decisions involve classroom management decisions that help foster a safe learning environment for all of my students. I am lucky as Lakeside does not have many behavior issues; however, like any other campus bullying is an issue, and I want all of my students to feel safe to express their opinions during classroom discussions and within their own writing.
Who is a person that you considered as a role model early in your life?
My grandparents were both role models. They both worked hard and would give the shirt off their backs if someone needed it. My fondest memories of my grandparents always involves holidays. There was never a holiday that went by where my grandparents did not invite at least one person outside of our family that had no family to spend the holidays with. It was that compassion and sense of giving that inspires me daily.
Which accomplishment are you most proud of?
The accomplishment I am most proud of is receiving feedback from my students that they enjoyed my class and that they gained the value of learning history.