Jesus Gutierrez is a full time, tenured faculty member at Citrus College with an incredible perspective on teaching math and propelling the next generation of thinkers. This will be his final semester teaching differential equations in order to allow other faculty members to teach the course. Once he teaches Pre-Calculus after teaching Calculus III this fall, he will have taught every math class that Citrus offers.
What classes are you teaching this semester?
Three elementary algebra, each one at five units therefore fifteen; that’s my load, and then for overload I’m teaching differential equations for five units and calculus for four units for a combined total of 24 units. I do my overload in the upper classes. I concentrate the bulk of my load for the basic skills.
How long have you been working at Citrus?
I started in the fall of 2007 and I was hired full time in the fall of 2008, so since then I have worked full time here.
What are your fondest memories about teaching?
Discovering the hidden potential that students have. That’s for sure. It’s being able to have that student that had a rough start and could actually just turn it around and discover that there’s a certain studying style that they have to subscribe to.
This is the reason I keep coming back, being enthusiastic about teaching because there is that student that needs that one more example or perhaps that technique or maybe just a simple laugh to say “well alright, I screwed up.” And I really do believe that we’re just moments away from success. I think that’s what brings me back to the teaching profession, it’s discovering what I have to do to actually propel the student forward.
Is there something you wish you could do over again?
I would work more with senior faculty members that had a rich experience at Citrus to grab some of their knowledge in terms of cooperative learning techniques, the sequence of the delivery of information, questions that are engaging and showcase multiple dimensions of a student’s understanding. If I had to do it all over again, I would have tapped into their experiences and zeroed in on key things that they learned over the years. Things that would have taken me years to discover.
What are some of the changes to you want to see at Citrus?
That we engage the learners from multiple dimensions. That we try to address the different learning environments that students may exceed in. I think that is something that is important, offering different delivery mechanisms for the instruction of math in such a way that it optimizes student success. The only way we’re going to do this is by piloting innovative ideas.
What are the goals that you are still working towards?
I’m still working towards the goal of teaching every class that can be offered at a community college in terms of content. My long term goal is to procure a master’s degree in statistics and look at things from a more practical statistical perspective. A lot of the time we look at stats we don’t look at certain dimensions that are contributing factors to the outcomes. I want to be more educating in that area. My short term goal is to teach Calculus III this fall.
Why is math important for a student to study?
Math is useful because you can hear people’s arguments. You can consider other opposing views. You can provide a solution with sound reason and you can follow a line of thinking and I believe that goes with considering arguments that you can’t really confirm. The reasoning is the skill we are acquiring in math.
What courses will you be teaching next semester?
In the fall I will be teaching linear algebra, calculus III, and the algebra sequence. I will be taking linear algebra for the next two years here so I have the opportunity to build that course get better at delivering that information. That will be my next challenge, how to engage students in the learning of linear algebra.