Math Department: Q&A with Geometry and Algebra 2 teacher Josh Kuo

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Math Department: Q&A with Geometry and Algebra 2 teacher Josh Kuo

Ria Kolli

During tutorial, students gather around tables in D202 to discuss their homework. Off to the side is Algebra 2 and Geometry teacher Josh Kuo, sitting at his desk ready to answer questions. Despite the chatter throughout the room, Kuo manages to walk a student through the step-by-step process of solving a problem. Although he is a new teacher at MVHS, Kuo feels like he is acclimatizing to the community, and discusses his transition from his old job.


El Estoque: What got you interested in teaching math?

Josh Kuo: When I was younger, middle school age, my math skills were not very good. I probably just didn’t practice enough and I just lost interest in math because the more I did, the less I understood, since I didn’t have the basis. Learning math is a cumulative thing, and I felt like I had too many holes and kept failing. One teacher didn’t really personally help me, but the way he taught me about math was inspirational because it opened my eyes about how I don’t have to be afraid of trying and how everything works out eventually. Once I got the idea, I just sorted out all of the parts that I was missing and eventually, all of the concepts came together. [My] math teacher inspired me to do better and never give up, so I figured that I wanted to be that person.


EE: What is your teaching philosophy?

JK: My main thing is that people need to learn from their mistakes and continue to fix them, and eventually, they will be where they want to be. Also, for math, it’s all about knowing the path that gives you the right answer. So if you know what’s given and what you’re going to end up having, then however you want to go down the path, it’s all in the process.


EE: Why did you decide to teach at MVHS?

JK: [MVHS is] a pretty good school. I like the community in Cupertino. I taught at Morgan Hill HS and I figured that it was time to switch over. I’m getting married soon, so I feel like it’s time to make a change, start a new lifestyle and see what it’s like.


EE: How does your job at Monta Vista compare to the one at Morgan Hill?

JK: Morgan Hill is more relaxed, it’s more laid back because it’s more of a rural area. Here it’s more of a city setting. All of the traffic, all of the cars, so the environment is different and it’s a much larger school, about three times as big. The population is different. I think in Morgan Hill, we only had five percent Asian, but here, it’s 83 percent Asian, so the population demographics are a lot different. The whole culture is also very different. The transition is definitely something that I am still working on.