New math teacher Mr. Nathaniel Bates arrives at Dougherty

Riya Mehta and Helen Kang

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Teju Anand
Mr. Nathaniel Bates settles at Dougherty Valley after 10 years of teaching.

New precalculus teacher Mr. Nathaniel Bates finally settles in at Dougherty Valley after 10 years of teaching experience. Over the past few weeks, he has bonded with his students and was ultimately nominated for homecoming court. 

With his arrival at DV, he has brought many years of experience in a wide variety of educational settings. 

“I’ve been teaching off and on now, if you include my substitute teaching, for about 15 years. And I became a full-time credential teacher in 2009. Basically, since 2009, so far about 10 years. I taught in an adult program at a jail, where people who were inside needed their GEDs. I taught in New Mexico, I taught in Oakland, where I taught physics. I was even thinking of going into special education. I worked in it as a paraprofessional. They needed help teaching. So I taught a wide variety of students,” he said. 

However, his decision to commit to teaching math full-time was not an easy one. Only after he ventured towards many possible career paths did he find his true place in the math department. 

“I was originally going to start off as a history teacher, I did get my credential for that. But I also took the California standard entrance tests for math and did well, and found that I enjoyed it. I found that it was a niche where people really needed those teachers, so I went in that direction. I decided that I like people, as well as math and science. So I chose to pursue teaching full time,” he said.

But despite his love for teaching math, his desire to help others is what impacts his teaching the most. This is seen in his experience working with special needs students and helping those students achieve their goals. 

“Quite a number of my most memorable experiences was when I was in a special education classroom. I found that the students were able to tap into their interests. They did really well —  in some cases, above grade level,” Bates said. 

His experience in teaching a wide variety of age groups and settings has formed his own unique style of teaching. 

“I tend to have a lot of pep talks. I tend to try to generate enthusiasm. I line them up at the door, explain exactly what we’re doing, so when they go in, they know. I try to give clear directions. I try to give the kids a clear sense of what it is we’re supposed to learn. When I do, I’m successful. One thing I try to do is try to relate mathematics to science and everyday life.” 

This approach to teaching has been proven effective here at Dougherty. 

“He has a unique way of teaching and allows us to be more independent,” said junior Rhea Farrior, who has precalculus with Bates. 

Ultimately, Bates’ decision to teach full-time relied on the fact that he wanted to make an impact, despite what subject he chose. But to him, no profession could compare to the value of teaching the subjects he truly loved. 

“I wanted a job to make a difference, a job that would touch lives, a job that would touch me. I wanted to make a contribution,” he said.

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