Tobias Spencer is the Physiology and Biology teacher in room J-2. He is not only a science teacher, but a drummer, Teachers’ Union representative, and former tomato inspector. Although he grew up in Davis, he ended up in Sacramento teaching with San Juan School District.
Spencer says teaching at Rio “feels just like being in Davis.” It reminds him of his old school’s strong sports programs, strong arts, and strong academics. He thinks teaching at Rio is the perfect transition.
Spencer not only taught at Davis High, but went there for high school as well.
“There were times when I would be like, ‘déja vu,’” said Mr. Spencer. “One time I found myself, [as a substitute] passing out the same worksheets that I did in high school.”
Even though now he has his own classroom, Mr. Spencer hasn’t always known he wanted to be a teacher. He was originally planning on going to medical school, but when he started subbing, he enjoyed it.
“It worked well, it felt natural,” Mr. Spencer says he loves explaining, and really enjoys teaching Physiology. “I kind of fell into it.”
There were plenty of jobs in-between high school and his current position. Mr. Spencer has had 30 jobs, including lab science, rat research, being a valet, telemarketing, delivering pizza, and even inspecting tomatoes for nine years.
Currently, Spencer is doing more than just teaching. He’s working at UC Davis in the biostatistics department, is a Teachers’ Union representative at state and national level, and a professional drummer. He performed at the state and county fair, and at Old Ironsides every Monday night.
Even in high school Mr. Spencer liked music and said he was a “band geek” as a high schooler. His favorite classes were music and physics. Looking back, he might have even chosen to major in music for college.
“My advice would be: go ahead and follow your dreams, don’t play it safe.”
When he’s not banging on the drums or making lesson plans, Mr. Spencer likes to spend time with his 11 year old daughter, Mckinley. He also tries to bike to school, 10 miles, and does some traveling. He’s been to Miami, Spain, Europe, Belize, and each year he goes to a different city for the National Education Association.
Spencer likes his students to get involved, and to have an active class. “The less I talk, the better.” He hopes that his students can “appreciate the goal of science, be more curious, [and] develop a natural curiosity for the world.”