Before They Were Teachers


Dana Nuqui, Student Life Editor

Going into the education field usually shapes an individual’s mind and perspective on things. Teaching and dealing with students will help you discover more about yourself in terms of your patience, motivation, endurance, and especially if you can become an inspiration for students. Teaching candidates learn life lessons that can encourage other people to work hard in achieving their goals and following their dreams. Of course, not everyone wants to become a teacher, but most people want to become successful.

In order to become to successful, you’ve got to work hard and play hard. Believe it or not, teachers were once teenagers and young adults who had aspirations to become the best they can be. The person you were 5, 10, or even 15 years ago could be totally different from the person you are today. Not everyone finds their passion right away as a teenager in high school, but many people find that as time goes on,  life experiences change you as well.




Jeffrey Virkus, Health Teacher


Comparing yourself to the person you are today, what were you like as a teenager?

Growing up, I tended to be shy and self-conscious about a lot of things.  Over time, I’ve devoted less time to concerning myself with whether or not others accepted me.  These days, I focus on positively affecting others rather than wasting time worrying about myself.  It’s enabled me to get much more out of life.


What high school and college did you attend?

Homestead HS located in Cupertino, CA



Other than teaching, do you have other hobbies/interests/talents?

  • Hiking
  • Strength Training
  • Qigong – I recently took up Qigong, an integration of physical postures, breathing techniques, and focused intentions to maintain health, calm my mind, and gain a closer connection with my spirit.

Qi (pronounced chee) is usually translated to mean the life force or vital-energy that flows through all things in the universe. 

Gong (pronounced gung) means accomplishment, or skill that is cultivated through steady practice.


Did you have other jobs and what were they like? 

Before I became a teacher, I waited tables and conducted guide tours of Los Angeles.

My very first job was at Little Caesars Pizza at age 15.

What made you pursue becoming a health teacher?

Growing up, I became very aware that those around me who led healthier lifestyles generally led better quality of lives and contributed more positively to society.

What have you always loved doing and still continue to do this day?

I’ve always loved playing outdoors.  Growing up, I used to hike in the hills behind my house, played baseball, and participated in water sports in Lake Tahoe every summer.  I continue doing all of these things today.

Do you still have other plans and dreams to fulfill?

I would love to do a TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) talk on Health at some point.  I’m always looking for ways to inspire the masses to improve the quality of their lives by pursuing healthy lifestyles.

Any personal advice to students?

Be true to your heart, give as much or more than you receive, and love.



Sometimes students don’t realize that teachers have faced the same struggles and hardships that they may be facing right now in high school. They’ll feel like the teacher is only there to assign you homework, hand out tests, and nothing else. Students think that teachers are always out to get them but the truth is, they’re not out to get us. They’re there as teachers because they want to watch you grow up and become successful and happy in life. As they pass through this roller coaster like phase in life called high school, students might not remember everything a teacher has taught them, but they’ll definitely remember how a teacher made them feel.