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Don Goss

Job Title:

Math Teacher




Phone: (510) 577-9100



Started at O'Dowd:



Piedmont High, BA from UC Berkeley International Business and International MBA from AGSIM (Thunderbird) Masters in Ed and Masters in Digital Media Learning, University of San Francisco

Originally from:

Indiana, S. CA, TX, AZ, Japan

Why I Teach:

I've had many different jobs: some more financially lucrative, but none more intrinsically valuable or more enjoyable than teaching. O'Dowd students are a perfect blend of economic, racial, and international diversity. Each student has a unique set of skills he applies in and out of the classroom. The same goes for O'Dowd teachers. This place has become my home away from home.

Most powerful teaching technique:

I try to use humor to disguise the higher level thinking and hard mental work students endure. My goal is to hear that, "A-ha". More than anything, I hope to have the students learn how to learn.

Why are the subjects you teach important?:

Life is an endless set of problems. I teach problem solving skills. And, math is the foundation language of science.
With math, we're starting with the simplest concepts with which everyone, individually, can agree. (ie. Euclid: "If two things are each equal to a third thing, then they are equal to each other.") and we build on that, continuing to make sure we all still agree with each step until we have built something complex and useful. Even if we forget how to derive that complex concept later in life, we still remember that we agreed.

Favorite quotes:

"All the gravity in the world cannot account for people falling... in love" - Einstein "Imagine if all the people you love and all the things you have were taken away from you. Then, imagine how happy you would be if they were all returned." - Japanese proverb

Favorite trivia:

The word, "O.K." comes from President Martin Van Buren. He was from Kinderhook, NY. His friends gave him the nickname 'Old Kinderhook'. When he was in office, he would verify documents with his,"O.K." since those were the initials of his nickname. Now, people all over the globe use the term 'O.K.' instead of, "yes" or "I understand." It's probably the most common English "word".

Recommended visual media:

Bladerunner from the Philip K. Dick novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? The Road Home (Chinese)(Why? I cried like a baby.) Get Out (Why? To get some sense of what it might feel like to be a slave.)

Recommended reads:

Bladerunner, Earth Abides, anything by Isaac Asimov

Hobbies or outside interests:

Chess, hoops, construction, playing with my kids. Astronomy. Go Warriors!

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