By LARA PRAKASH
At Pinewood, students are fortunate enough to learn from a diverse range of teachers with unique backgrounds and perspectives. Junior high and high school math teacher Rachel Phillips is one not to be overlooked. The 2018-2019 year is the start of Phillips’ teaching career. Prior to working at Pinewood, Phillips attended University of California, Berkeley after graduating as one of 4,000 graduates from Fountain Valley High School in Orange County, CA.
During Phillips’s time at Fountain Valley High School, the mathematical dialect was not the only speech she learned.
“Since I spoke fluent Mandarin, I spent a semester abroad in China,” said Phillips.
Getting the opportunity to immerse herself in a new culture and study across the world was a highlight of her high school experience.
While in college, her favorite classes included the history of jazz and numerous math seminars. Inspired by her high school and college math classes, Phillips loves to teach Algebra I and II, along with AP Calculus BC.
“I heard about the opportunity to teach at Pinewood while I was in college. I did some research, and Pinewood seemed to be an inclusive and caring community,” Phillips said.
Phillips was drawn to Pinewood as it reminded her of her own elementary school. Sentimental connections make Phillips excited to come to Pinewood every day.
“It is amusing to see the energy levels from each class I teach. The seventh graders in algebra are excited, while some of the seniors in AP calculus BC have checked out,” Phillips said.
Some students believe the stereotype that teachers are only concerned about teaching and school activities. Phillips is the polar opposite of this. She is a competitive swing dancer and rides horses.
“Part of the reason why I love living in the Bay Area is that there is a performing community. I teach and compete in swing dancing at the Wednesday Night Club in Palo Alto,” Phillips said.
This outlet is a unique and an exciting way to stay active, while bonding with others sharing similar interests. When Phillips is not swing dancing or grading tests, she enjoys riding her horse, Theo.
“Theo lives in Castro Valley, and I get to ride him three to four times a week,” Phillips said.
Phillips adores Theo, and drives from Mountain View to Castro Valley multiple times a week.
In the future, Phillips hopes to teach statistics and other classes at Pinewood. She loves being a part of the Upper Campus and observing our spirit days and annual events. We are fortunate to have Phillips’ wealth of knowledge in the Pinewood community, adding to its dynamism academically and socially.