Master of Education: Joshua Truax
Why did you choose the University of San Diego’s Master of Education Online versus other degrees?
I chose the University of San Diego’s Master of Education online program because of the flexibility; it allowed me to work the classes around my schedule. In teaching six periods of three different subjects (Geometry, Anatomy and Physiology, and Earth Science), in addition to coaching basketball and roller hockey, it was important to be able to design a program that allowed me to work around the craziness of my schedule. I like the freedom and flexibility the online program allows me to have.
How have you applied the lessons you learned in the USD Master of Education Online degree in your classroom already?
Much of what we have learned during these early courses has dealt with the importance of art and its integration into the curriculum. I have taken this to heart and now have my students draw their homework. This works exceptionally well in Geometry, especially when it comes to those daunting word problems. My students now approach word problems with a level of excitement rather than fear, because I have emphasized the importance of turning a word problem into a picture.
What new skills have you learned from the degree?
Many of the skills I have learned from this degree are seemingly basic information that would normally be covered in a teaching credential program. I did not go to college to earn a degree specifically to teach. I was lucky enough to get a job teaching with a bachelor of science degree and no direct training in teaching. The courses so far have been extremely beneficial to my situation, because they have allowed me to better understand my students and their needs as learners.
Why did you choose to pursue the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) specialization?
I have always been science and math oriented, even as a student going through school. Math and science have always been interests of mine, while technology and engineering have been more hobbies. Growing up, I was always the kid building things out of Legos and K’Nex, so I thought it would be interesting to see how I could integrate the ideas of engineering into the classroom. My school site is also looking to go 1 to 1 with iPads in the next year, so the technology aspect of this degree will allow me to stay ahead of the curve from a technology in the classroom standpoint.
Where do you currently teach? What grade and how long have you been teaching?
I currently teach at an all-boys Catholic school in La Verne, California called Damien High School. I teach Geometry, Human Anatomy & Physiology, and Earth Science to 10th, 11th and 12 graders. This is my third year teaching at Damien.
What is your fondest memory so far as a teacher regarding a student who comprehended a lesson you taught?
My fondest memory so far would be in teaching the concepts of Sine, Cosine, and Tangent to my Geometry students. This is generally a lesson that many students find difficult. However, in one of the master’s classes we were given the task of brainstorming various projects that would help to ease the understanding of a difficult topic to our students. My project involved creating a sextant out of a protractor, straw, string and a washer that my students would be able to use to measure the heights of various objects on campus. It was amazing to see the excitement level of the kids, as they finally gained a solid understanding of sine, cosine, and tangent and how they relate to a real-world situation.