Mr. Ross Interview
By Eric Gasparro;Staff writer
How much do YOU know about Mr. Ross? He is new to Magruder this year and teaches 6th grade language arts. Now is your chance to learn about one of our school’s newest staff members. I recently had the opportunity to ask him a few questions. Here’s what he had to say.
Where did you grow up?
“I grew up in Agoura Hills, CA which is sort of halfway between here and Ventura. Back when I grew up there, it was just called Agoura. It was rural and nothing like Beverly Hills or Laguna Hills. If you want to see what my hometown looked like when I grew up, check out old episodes of “Dukes of Hazzard,” M.A.S.H.” etc. Or the opening scene of “Poltergeist” where the kids ride around the Oak Tree. Also, many Western films were done out there. Oh and this great scene from Karate Kid, where Ralph Macchio is pushed down the hill from the Cobra Kai bad guys…yeah, that was filmed in Agoura.”
Do you have a family?
“I have a wife and three kids in Torrance schools. My daughter is in 5th grade, one son is in 3rd grade, and my youngest son is in Kindergarten.”
What are your hobbies?
“I have so many hobbies, it’s hard to list them all. More than anything, I love reading, writing, running (I do a lot of half-marathons when I can), record-collecting (I love old brick-and-mortar record stores), playing/collecting old school arcade and console games, and traveling all over the world with my wife (a flight attendant) and three kiddos.”
Where did you go to college?
“I started out at the University of Colorado, Boulder, but did most of my education (B.A. and M.A.) at Loyola Marymount University. I got both of my teaching credentials at Chapman University.”
What’s your style of teaching (independent or group work)?
“My style of teaching isn’t just one or the other. I do a lot of independent reading and writing, but also on a daily basis, students are interacting with each other. Sometimes this involves table talk and work, sometimes partner work, and sometimes groups of different sizes and shapes, temperaments, talents, and convictions. The 5 main things you will see in my classroom are: Reading, Writing, Talking, Listening, and FUN! Lots of laughter and fun.”
Would you consider yourself strict or nice?
“I would consider myself a blend of the two. If I were employing a portmanteau (look it up if you’re curious), I’d say I’m “Stice” or “Nict.” That is, I am firm when I need to be, and kind, empathetic and understanding when the time calls for it.”
Do you reward your students in any way?
“I don’t do a ticket system or table points or any of that stuff, but I do try to reward them with a lot of verbal praise, positive feedback, gifts of increasing responsibility and ownership of their classroom. We also do lunchtime movies or retro-videogame tournaments (e.g. Pacman, Dig-Dug). I’m a firm believer in the value of intrinsic rewards. I don’t want kids doing things in my classroom just to earn a candy bar or a stuffed animal. I want them working hard because hard work pays off and the doors that are opened from hard work often result in fantastic real-world rewards, again and again, over a lifetime.”
Mr. Ross seems like a really cool teacher. He seems like a perfect fit for Magruder. Based on his answers to my questions, I would say he also sounds like a great Language Arts teacher.