Ted Altenberg’s Teaching Career

A Teacher From the Start:

If I really thought about it, I might be able to come up with an earlier example of my interest in teaching, but the Boy Scouts is a good place to begin my tale… I joined Boy Scout Troop 164 in West Hartford, CT in October 1970. A new scoutmaster took the reins the next year, and he was very motivated to have the scouts and troop excel; “Better Than the Best” was our troop motto. So I started earning merit badges and ranks, and climbing the leadership ladder to Patrol Leader, Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, Senior Patrol Leader, and finally Junior Assistant Scoutaster —the highest leadership position available to scouts under age 18 (though PL and SPL are really the most important roles in a troop’s leadership). I earned the rank of Eagle in May, 1974 at age 14, much younger than most scouts earn Eagle. As a leader in Troop 164, I taught many of the younger scouts a variety of skills and knowledge: camping, first aid, campfire cooking, orienteering, nature studies, swimming, canoeing, rowing, and more.

Only later, when I decided to become a teacher, did I look back at my scouting days and realize, “Of course, I’m already a teacher, and I love it! I love sharing my knowledge and skills, and my enthusiasm for learning!”

Starting around the same time in my life, age 10 and beyond, I fell in love with the dream of homesteading a farm on our family land in Saxtons River, VT. This dream, along with my love of nature and science, led me to study science, agriculture, and environmental issues. This was the 1970s, the beginnings of the modern environmental movement. In describing my dream of homesteading and living in Vermont, I would say I wanted to be a “farmer-preacher-teacher.” Well, as I write this paragraph nearly 40 years later, I am a teacher, sort of a preacher, though more of a gardener than a farmer… But I still dream of living on our family land in Saxtons River, VT. Hey, I ain’t dead yet… and we never know where the future may take us…

LRY leadership...

Undergraduate at UCSC:

Chem IA tutor... Student-Directed Seminar: Environmental Studies 42A... Reader for ES core course...

Graduate School at U Mass Amherst:

Tutor for Upward Bound... Student teaching at East Longmeadow High School... Subbing at Maple Valley School...

Teaching in California:

San Lorenzo Valley Junior High School (1987–1988)

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Boulder Creek Elementary School (1988–1989)

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Del Mar Middle School (1989–1991)

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Gateway School (1991–1993)

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Sierramont Middle School (1993–1997)

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Mission Hill Junior High School (1997–1998)

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Washington Middle School (1988–2007)

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Pajaro Valley Unified School District (2007–present)

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