Lauren Hannani culture editor
Math teacher Dustin Mathias is going back to school.
Since graduating from college, Mathias has aspired to earn a doctorate in education and become a professor. Now, starting this year, he has begun working toward that goal–one he has been very passionate about for many years.
“I like knowing how people learn,” Mathias said. “I like knowing what the best way is to build a good atmosphere in the classroom and to make sure every kid in the classroom is being taught in the best way that they can learn.”
Because he has always loved university campuses and the idea of teaching college students, Mathias is looking forward to interacting with a different age group.
“When I went to college, I really liked the college atmosphere, and so I’ve kind of always wanted to make my way back there,” Mathias said. “I liked seeing students who just graduated high school find their way into the world and understand that they’re finally becoming more grown up. I’ve always liked that part of your life.”
To fulfill all of the doctorate requirements, Mathias is taking online classes at California Coast University, which has proved to be a difficult task to balance with school work.
“It’s completely self-paced,” Mathias said. “I have to make sure I’m spending enough time working on stuff that I need to get done by myself, because there are no teachers or professors that I’m meeting with regularly, there are no set times, so I have to make sure I stay on top of doing a little bit each week and keep working toward the exam I have to take.”
However, this is not the first time Mathias is taking education classes. After earning his bachelor’s degree in math education, he studied and got a master’s degree in educational psychology at the University of Missouri. Because of all of this experience, Mathias has tried to incorporate different material he has learned into his own classes.
“Group work, being positive…just a lot of random things, like how I organize the classroom,” Mathias said. “I make sure the schedule is there [on the board] so they can see what’s coming up, and make them feel comfortable around here.”
These additions to the classroom has not gone unnoticed by his students.
“His teaching style is great because the way he gives notes really helps you absorb the information well,” sophomore Emma Sirota said. “He won’t let you take a test without being prepared.”
Mathias is also thinking about possibly starting a company or designing an app after earning his doctorate. However, he is sure that he will definitely continue teaching high school students even after his three to five years of studying comes to an end.
“I like teaching high school. It’s an important part of people’s lives,” he said. “If a good opportunity rises to start a business as part of a company, maybe [I’ll start doing that too], but I like teaching, so I’m going to continue teaching high school and start to sprinkle in teaching college if I can.”
Although the process to become a professor is not an easy one, Mathias is excited to take on the challenge and learn a lot of new information he can apply to his classes in the meantime.
“I think it’s a good thing to challenge yourself in life, and this is a major challenge,” Mathias said. “Also, it can open some doors for me down the road. I’m not sure what those doors are, but it could help me get to that university teaching level.”