Randall Chew will retire as a teacher at Venice High for over 20 years and an educator for 30.
Growing up, both his mother and father were teachers. Yet his desire to go into medicine earlier on was much more appealing in both a monetary and enrichment sense.
“My dad said, ‘You’re going to have to get a full time job after you graduate—to help your family, your brothers and sisters get through college.”
Chew said it was a conflicting decision, as he wanted to both be able to provide for and be with his family. But after meeting his wife—fellow Venice math teacher Laurie Chew—and having his son, Chew saw his future for the first time with complete clarity.
“When I held my son in my hand it finally occurred to me,” he said. “My kid is more important than money. I thought, ‘Oh man, I don’t want to be poor,’ but then, when something like that happens, it’s just like God changed my heart. I think that’s what it was.”
From that moment on, he lived his days happily with his family—teaching on chalkboards and 5 inch Mac screens. Chew’s classes were always filled with jokes and happiness, laughing through the periods of Calculus and Algebra II.
The physical setting was how he really connected with his students, Chew said.
“If teaching was all over Zoom like it is, I would’ve just quit,” he said.
It’s really difficult to immerse yourself in a class without the “classroom setting”, and it’s oftentimes that students forget teachers feel the same way. There’s a reason they got into teaching, and Chew wanted his students to understand real-world applications of math— switching out the confusion with comprehension and self-confidence.
Chew’s teaching philosophy has always been the same: “Students don’t care what you know, unless they know that you care.”
And it’s that philosophy that made him the phenomenal teacher that is and always will be.