Hoang Nguyen: From an engineering degree to a math teacher

Nguyen smiles for a photo. Photo Credits: Anoop Bainiwal

In his first year of teaching, Mr. Nguyen, also known as Hoang Nguyen, teaches Math 1 and 2 at Silver Creek High School.

Nguyen was born in Vietnam and came to America in 1975. He lived in San Francisco for around twenty years and went to San Francisco State University. In college, Nguyen started out with an engineering degree because his brother pursued it and he followed him, not knowing what to do. “There were no job openings because we were saturated engineers so it was very difficult unless you knew somebody inside a company and they could get you in,” Nguyen explains.

In college, his professor asked, “Have you ever thought of becoming a teacher?” Nguyen was unsure of his path and so he thought about it and observed a high school and an elementary class and he liked it. “That’s when I first started to think about becoming a teacher,” he said. “I looked into the program into what it takes to become a teacher and I did the requirements.”

In the ‘90s, Nguyen was an intern for a couple years at Marin Academy, a private school in San Rafael. Then he taught at Homestead High School for 21 years before a break for several years. “I went to Maui for about a year with my wife and spent all my savings,” Nguyen said. When he came back, he was a long term substitute for Saratoga High School and Los Gatos High School. In 2019, he taught a technology class at Rolling Hills Middle School. 

Nguyen gave advice to future teachers saying they should observe and ask questions. “If anybody wants to become a teacher, they should look at the colleges that offer the teaching credential program and see the requirements,” he said. “You also want to observe and ask questions. I have to do work at home and take it out of my sleep to get it done. You don’t see that – you only see me in the classroom.”

When talking about why he chose Silver Creek, he said he applied to any open positions and this district had an opening. Between Silver Creek and Yerba Buena High School interviews, he chose Silver Creek because they offered him the job first. “This was a good decision, I like it here.” Nguyen expressed. 

After going to SFSU, Nguyen then moved to Milpitas and now San Jose. Nguyen likes to watch movies on YouTube. “Me and my wife no longer have TVs.” Nguyen explains. He also likes to do gardening and house maintenance. “I do everything myself so it takes some time,” he said. He also used to go camping before Covid.

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