Brandon Austel has been a teacher for 36 years, and has taught at Van Nuys Senior High for 28 of those years.
The subjects he taught this past year were biology, chemistry, and integrated science. On top of teaching these 3 subjects, he also sponsored the Swing Dance Club four years ago. One of the biggest changes he’s seen during his career has been the technology.
“The increasing use of technology for teaching has been beneficial in that lessons are becoming more interesting for students, but the availability of that same technology (cell phones and home computers) has also made it more difficult to hold student’s attention. It is this same technology, however, which has made “distance learning” possible during this recent Covid-19 crisis.”
A concern was that students would not take him seriously because of his youthful appearance. “That turned out to not be a problem once I grew a beard,” Austel stated.
Brandon stated that he has always loved learning and enjoys the educational environment. “I decided to become a teacher in order to remain in that environment.” He also enjoys seeing students comprehend a concept and become interested in learning more about it on their own.
A moment that will always stick with him was “The first time I led my students over to Van Nuys elementary school to teach the 5th and 6th graders about fun and interesting scientific concepts. The program expanded to 5 different elementaries, with 25 classes total. It had an article in the newspaper, and I won an award for “Teacher of the Year” from the Rotary Club.” he said.
His worst teacher moment has been not being able to see his students one last time because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
While his teaching career has come to its end, he plans on doing art and writing fiction as well as traveling the world once there is a vaccine for Covid-19.