Josiah Guzik: a newcomer with a history

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Josiah Guzik: a newcomer with a history

Clare Knutson

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For the new Spanish 2 and 3 teacher Josiah Guzik, coming to teach at Foothill is not only a new adventure, but also “kind of like a homecoming” too. Except that this time, instead of sitting at the desks, he’s the one up front teaching the cl

Josiah Guzik, who used to attend Foothill, is back to teach Spanish 2 and 3. Credit: Rachel Horiuchi/The Foothill Dragon Press

Josiah Guzik, who used to attend Foothill, is back to teach Spanish 2 and 3. Credit: Rachel Horiuchi/The Foothill Dragon Press

For the new Spanish 2 and 3 teacher Josiah Guzik, coming to teach at Foothill is not only a new adventure, but also “kind of like a homecoming” too. Except that this time, instead of sitting at the desks, he’s the one up front teaching the class.

Growing up in Ventura, Guzik started off his high school career at Buena High School. However, after a year of struggling to fit in, he was thrilled to come to Foothill for his sophomore year. After graduating in 2007, he attended Point Loma Nazarene University and majored in Spanish.

Guzik’s passion for the Spanish began after reading “100 Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Márquez in high school. “It [“100 Years of Solitude”] ignited this fire that was in me to study the Spanish language and connect with the culture,” he explained.

Starting his fifth year of teaching, Guzik has already taught at some widely differing institutions. Just before coming to Foothill, he was a Spanish teacher at Buena for three years. He has also taught in Camden, New Jersey, rated as one of the poorest and most dangerous cities in the country, under the program Teach for America.

 

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However, coming back to Foothill as a teacher was an easy decision; although, he was unsure if being a student in the past affected the interview process.

“I’d like to think that being a former student, you know, that’s something that the school wants to have; former students coming back and teaching,” Guzik said. “I felt like a lot of the teachers at this school were rooting for me.”

Whatever prompted the decision to hire Guzik, students in his classes are enjoying the new life he’s brought to the Spanish program.

“He’s really interesting and he actually brings […] a new teaching aesthetic,” junior Emma Tan said. “And he doesn’t get mad if you don’t remember a word from the last two years of Spanish,”

After teaching in Camden, Guzik was happy to teach at Buena, where his students were coming to school to learn, rather than worrying about more pressing matters. He was even more excited to be coming back to Foothill.

“The staff has been super welcoming and the students have been really open and excited to learn. It’s just exciting for me, because I feel like I really know the school’s culture; what it’s like to be a student here and now I know a little bit about what it’s like to be a teacher here, so it’s just been a really special opportunity,” he said.

Unlike a lot of new teachers, who sometimes struggle to have students take them seriously, Guzik’s history with Foothill has made his transition easier.

“I’ve been through what [the students] have been through. I’ve had some of the same teachers, in fact a lot of the same teachers,” he said.

But has Foothill changed since he was a student here? Guzik said no.

 

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“I kind of remember [Foothill] being the same way. In fact, that was one of the main reasons I applied to come back was because I loved it here as a student. It was the same experience,” he said.

What do you think?