Blas Herrera, Biology Teacher
Biology Teacher, 10th Grade
How do you exemplify the values of June Jordan School For Equity in your everyday work?
I try to exemplify the values of June Jordan School for Equity in my everyday work by Respecting my students individual needs for learning and encouraging and modeling for my students to engage in respectful academic argumentation, Integrity - I model integrity and encourage students to be honest and when faced with a question they or I don't know that the best response is not to 'make it up' but rather to state 'I don't know, but I'll look into that and get back to you' , Courage - to own what they know and not be afraid to speak up and or demonstrate at the board. I also encourage that my students take airtime from me so I'm more of a facilitator of discussion and less of a person lecturing the students , and Humility - I model and encourage students to accept compliments/appreciations but be humble and also give credit where credit is due.
What organizations are you working with/a part of outside of JJSE?
Sisterhood Gardens, Garden for the Environment, SF Park and Recreation, Planet Bee, California Academy of Sciences, SF Zoo, SF Libraries, Maker Faire (San Mateo), San Francisco Bazaar, Urban Fauna Studio, Fog City Gardener, California Science Teachers Association, National Science Teachers Association, PTA, and UESF.
When you're not working, how do you like to spend your time?
Gardening, Hiking, Biking, SCUBA Diving, Cooking, Baking, spending time with my family, exploring our world, teaching fiber arts - like spinning wool into yarn, knitting/crochet, weaving, and felting (wet & needle).
Who, or what, was your biggest teacher?
Facing your fears head on. I was afraid of heights and one day I was offered the opportunity to experience repelling off a 600+ foot face of a cliff. The moment where I was standing at the top of the cliff teetering on the edge was my realization that it's go time. After that first repel I ran to the top of the cliff to keep going and perfecting my technique with wider and longer jumps off the cliff instead of just inching my way down. Facing that fear of heights I've been able to go forward knowing that I can and will overcome my fears.
What book should everyone read by the time they graduate high school?
There are several that I recall from my time as a high school student here in San Francisco: Animal Farm, 1984, Fahrenheit 451, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Cannery Row, Death of a Salesman, The Great Gatsby, Romeo and Juliet, and Lord of the flies stick with me but what I felt an affinity to and was moved the most by was To Kill A Mockingbird. I feel that To Kill A Mocking Bird is definitely one that needs to be read and discussed by every high school student.