By Daniel Fox and Alexander Ritsch
Jackson Wiley is a new Pre-Calculus teacher at T.C. Williams High School. This is Wiley’s first full-time teaching job, though he has experience as a long term substitute in the Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) system. He was a substitute at both George Washington Middle School and at the Minnie Howard ninth grade campus.
Wiley grew up in Vancouver, Washington. “Up until a few years ago, I hadn’t lived anywhere outside that state,” said Wiley. He received his bachelor’s degree in math and philosophy from the University of Washington. He is currently finishing up his master’s in teaching from Western Governors University. He also would like to go back to to school to earn a PhD.
For Wiley, it wasn’t so much about deciding whether or not he wanted a math-based career; rather, it was about deciding whether he wanted to teach it to others. Since the fifth grade Wiley was interested in math. “I realized I had so much fun working with people that I was tutoring and helping friends with math. I realized that’s what [I] wanted to do.”
Wiley has several Pre-Calculus classes and he applies a similar teaching strategy to all of his classes. Wiley said, “I like to ask students a lot of questions. When [students] are trying to figure something out, instead of giving them the answer, have them figure it out themselves and use their critical thinking skills.” This will be Wiley’s first opportunity to implement his teaching technique over an extended period of time to a consistent audience.
Each new teacher at T.C. has a mentor. Wiley’s mentor is Jessica Purohit, who will help guide the Wiley through his first year. They help new teachers adjust to daily life at T.C.
Wiley is one of several teachers this year that shares multiple classrooms. For example, he teaches in both B318 and B105, which can cause an inconvenience for teachers because they must move their belongings between classrooms. Despite this, Wiley is enjoying his experience at T.C.. Wiley said, “There is a huge amount of diversity and a lot of different perspectives, so I learn something new every day.”
Wiley also enjoys a plethora of activities outside of the work environment. When Wiley is not teaching, he likes to play ultimate frisbee, sing, and go to musicals and shows.