Teacher Spotlight: Daniel Tena

Daniel Tena helps students with homework during his first period AVID class.

Roman Arcos

Daniel Tena helps students with homework during his first period AVID class.

Mario Campos, Jonathan Uriostegui

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For this Teacher Spotlight, we decided to change it up from the regular teacher article and interview with 10 questions to see how the teacher responds. For this month as a class, we chose Daniel Tena ASB adviser, AVID, and AP U.S. History teacher.                 

Where were you born and what is your background? 

I was born in Los Angeles, California and raised there for the first couple. Then moved to Santa Ana, California. I was born to a Cuban mother and my father was from Chihuahua, Mexico.

Did you notice a difference moving to Santa Ana?

I was too young to notice a difference moving but I did notice that half the people in the neighborhood were white. Also at school, I was in a bilingual program so I was mainly around other Latino students.

What got you into teaching U.S. History?

In high school, I did not get the best grades. I took history in summer school so I can make room in my schedule to take art classes. It was not until college that I started to get into history. What really got me into it is my history, Chicano, Mexican American, and Latino History is what inspired me to teach.

How long have you been working at Godinez?

I have been working since the school opened back in 2007. I do not want to go back to the old school I was teaching which is Saddleback. I came to Godinez because I wanted a chance to be a part of something new. I wanted to have involvement and seniority. Once you are at a school that is older than you, you have no seniority. But we need younger teachers to take over programs.

Is teaching AP U.S. History challenging?

The pressure is put on yourself because you want the kids to pass. I do not feel pressured by the district. I make sure that they come out of my class prepared for college and that they know how to write a thesis a history paper. I care about giving them something they can take to college and will be useful for them.

How did you get the position as ASB (Associated Student Body) Administrator?

About eight years ago, I  heard the ASB position was open to administrators. Since I was informed about the job, I asked my principal at the time about the opening of the position. He said he would take it into consideration and I ended being the new ASB administrator.

How do you deal with the criticism you get for administering ASB?

I am not on social media like the kids are so I do not see all the criticism from students. I know it does affect ASB students as they are on social media. We can not make everyone happy; some kids want banda, others do not. I have got expensive DJ’s and they said it was wack and then I have got the cheapest DJ and they said it was really good. Also, I get the same DJ year after years. Some years they hate him, some years they love him. We have put out surveys of what students want and the ASB students, with all the knowledge they have gathered, they make a decision.

What should students know about AVID?

AVID is not for the smartest kid or the dumbest kid. It is for people who want to go to college. If that’s your main goal, AVID will provide you with the necessary tools to get you there with your own determination 

Is there anything you like to say about AP U.S. History?

A.P.U.S.H. is not a difficult class it is just a lot of reading I know a lot of students don’t do the reading, and they beg for extra credit but as long as they learn skills that they can take to college. 

Is there anything you like to say about ASB?

For ASB it’s all about leadership, no matter where they go hopefully the students want to get involved in their college. Even if they don’t go to college, are they implementing the things they learned from ASB.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Shout out to all the athletes for making it to their championships games and shout out to Mario for this wonderful interview.

Update: The Gazette publish an error in the Daniel Tena article where it states, “he failed a class in high school.” He did not fail a class and the article has been updated with the correct information. The Gazette regrets the error.