Daniel Poulos, a former student assistant at CSU East Bay, custodian of CVUSD, and once upon a time a locksmith, is currently designated handy-man of the 100 hall. However, this semester he is taking on the “other side” of working at schools: he takes government classes by storm at CVHS as a student teacher.
Having been many things before becoming a teacher, it’s no surprise that Poulos’ aptitude for instructing came later in life.
“There was never an actual moment where it felt like ‘aha.’ It was one of those things that developed as time went on, and I feel like I’m doing it at the right time in my life as well,” said Poulos.
Poulos has always been a fan of history, more specifically the analysis and thinking behind the subject. As students come into their own in the real world, he hopes to teach them to analyze their new surroundings through multiple angles, and navigate their way to a path of success.
A class of 2006 graduate of CVHS, Poulos calls it “surreal” to come back and teach alongside the people who taught him years ago.
“The teachers I had are now helping me to be a teacher like I remember them to be… to be patient and that I will not achieve success overnight. I have to be ready to come in everyday and fail, but it’s okay because I can come in and do it all again tomorrow.”
Having never directed a classroom before, the fixer-upper turned high school teacher has learned many things in his new vocation.
“It is not as easy as the teachers at CVHS make it seem,” he said. “You have to be ready for everything, or almost everything. You have to be yourself. Students, especially high schoolers, see through the fake right away.”
As the saying goes, students teach the teacher as much as the teacher teaches the students and it seems as if Poulos is no exception to this seeming rite of passage to becoming a full fledged teacher.
“So far, I’ve learned that I have crossed the threshold into being an adult and I’m not all that cool anymore,” he said. “Honestly, the students make it fun for me to come in every day. It sounds cliche, but when they are engaged and having a good time or have a solid discussion, it makes it worth it.”
Poulos has many people he would like to give thanks to for insight and guidance right here on campus.
“The entire social studies department has been extremely supportive and frequently gives me advice and assistance whenever I need it. I’m grateful to them every day,” said Poulos.
Carmelina Frasca, once Poulos’ teacher in high school and now one of his teacher idols, commented on the student she re-met twelve years later seeking also to teach.
“Mr. Poulos is incredibly hard working and knowledgeable. He cares about students and he cares about teaching,” said Frasca.
There’s a mantra that this man of many talents keeps in mind from a former teacher of his that helps him go on in this field.
“Ms. Frasca keeps telling me to have fun teaching, and I find myself trying to come back to this every day. It’s so easy to feel bogged down with getting every fact or detail correct, or making sure every student understands every aspect, but there are times where the candid natures of high school students have to make you laugh. There is no filter from some students, and I love that,” said Poulos.