“My plan is to continue teaching mathematics for as long as I can. I am always looking to deepen my understanding of the subject. It is my career and also my hobby.”
Institute for Teacher Education - M.Ed. in Teaching
- MEd, Teaching (MEdT) - Non-Licensure
COEAA Spotlight on Jon Yamada by Kayla Ueshiro
What is your education background ?
I graduated from Moanalua High School and have earned three degrees from the University of Hawaiʽi at Mānoa. I have a BBA in Marketing, a BA in Mathematics, and an MEdT from the College of Education.
Where do you work?
I started teaching at Kapolei Middle School for three years, then moved to Kapolei High School.
How did you become interested in education?
I played football in high school and also enjoyed mathematics. After high school, I had no intention of becoming a teacher. I simply searched for my calling while going to college, playing golf, and coaching football. Since coaching is very similar to teaching, my path naturally led me towards education.
Is there anyone who inspires or inspired you to become a teacher?
Not directly. The current Navy football team’s offensive coordinator, Ivin Jasper, did inspire me to go into coaching. I met Ivin when he played at UH. He took me under his wing and worked with me. It was like being coached by a celebrity! After graduating from high school, I started to help coach at my alma mater, Moanalua High School. That was the start of an 18-year high school coaching career. A love of coaching and my natural interest in mathematics has led me to where I am today. So, I guess you could say that Ivin Jasper inspired me to become a teacher.
What are your future vision and goals?
My plan is to continue teaching mathematics for as long as I can. I am always looking to deepen my understanding of the subject. It is my career and also my hobby.
If you could offer some advice to an incoming or tenured teacher, what would you say?
Teaching is a marathon. I see too many teachers trying to “save the world” in their first few years. Since teaching is highly dependent on understanding and communicating with students, improvement takes time. It is sad to see promising teachers getting burnt out and leaving the profession before staying long enough to gain the proper experience. It seems overwhelming at the start, but focus on getting a little better each day, each month, each year. When you look back on your progress years later, you will be amazed at how much you have improved over time. Enjoy the process and enjoy working with the students.
Share a teaching or mentoring highlight.
For me, anyway, there is no magical moment when someone turns into an amazing teacher. I believe in the fundamentals. Students need to view mathematics in the proper way and will improve over time. Recently, I have been trying to incorporate the use of videos in my classes to support a flipped classroom. I started by using someone else’s flipped lessons and now am in the process of creating my own videos.
What are three fun facts?
1. I have three college degrees.
2. I coached football for 18 years.
3. In high school, I jokingly said that one day, I would teach calculus and coach football. It turns out that, many years later, that ended up coming true!