Brandon Touhey pursuing “lightbulb moments” with his students

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Amaya De Lara

Brandon Touhey is a new math teacher at LQHS.

A tall man walks from one side of the class to another, occasionally stopping at groups of students who need help and then to talk to the whole class. Most of the time, he allows the students to work together and quiets them down when he needs to speak to them.

Brandon Touhey is a new math teacher at LQHS, where he teaches functions, linear equations, solving systems of equations, solving inequalities and at the last school he taught the same things and simplifying radicals. He last taught at Redlands Christian Middle School. 

He relocated to La Quinta to be closer to family—especially after the loss of a family member.

“Home is wherever my family is,” he said.” 

I want to have that feeling everyday for the rest of my life.”

— Brandon Touhey

Touhey pursued this field of work to help students and to see the light bulb moment in the student. 

“When I was a freshman in high school, I was tutoring my friends who were not doing so well in math and I remember just watching this light bulb moment pop into her head one day,” Touhey said. “It was just the look in her eyes. She was so excited to finally get something that she’s been struggling to understand. I was, like, ‘Man, I want to have that feeling everyday for the rest of my life.’”

After graduating from South Hills High School in West Covina, he then graduated college from La Verne University. (He is in the process of completing his teaching credential from Cal Poly Pomona in December 2021.) 

Touhey played basketball in college because he wanted to go professional. He said it was a blast—winning two college championships: one with Azusa Pacific and the other with La Verne. 

“For basketball, you always have to keep working at any sport really. A lot of athletes think, ‘Oh, I showed up for practice today. That’s enough.’ You have to put in a whole bunch of hours just outside of practice to be good enough to sit on the bench,” Touhey said. “So never stop working, don’t get distracted, for sports, for life and careers in general. I mean, you have to be disciplined when those opportunities come up—because they’re going to come up—especially when you’re in college.”

For example, he noted that when students go to college, they will be approached to hang out with their friends. “You know you got a paper to write or a test to study for,” he said. “You have to learn to say no because once you’re in college, you don’t have your parents to keep you in line. You have to keep yourself in line.” 

Touhey said during high school he didn’t think he was a bad student, but he was quiet and shy. 

His special interests include cooking, basketball, pickleball, beach volleyball, and any other sport. 

The most unusual thing about Touhey is that he used to scare people for a living as a scare actor. He worked at theme parks such as Universal Studios, Six Flags, and Knott’s Scary Farm during their Halloween events to scare people. 

Touhey claims teaching in-person is easier than teaching online. 

“It’s a lot easier to see people’s facial expressions to see if they understand things or not,” he said. “Just because online, we couldn’t require students to show their faces or not, so it’s a lot more challenging to understand if people really got it or not, [and] really challenging to get people to do their work.” 

There were many distractions at home, he said, adding that his personal preference is teaching in-person. 

“I know a lot of other people that came in from the teaching program,” he said. “A lot of the people here are actually first-time teachers. They’ve never been in charge before, so I heard a lot of them are nervous and scared.  I’m definitely nervous as well, but I had an entire year last year at a private school just teaching. I’ve already gone through all the problems,” Touhey said.

Brandon Touhey teaching in his classroom.

Touhey enjoys everything about his job. 

He likes waking up in the morning to go to work, and his students always make him laugh. 

“I like it so far,” Touhey said. “It’s different from what I’m used to. There are a lot of students on campus, a lot of students in class, but so far so good.” 

He noted that he enjoys attending the games at LQ and is a frequent spectator at the freshman games to support his student-athletes. 

“Students are funny, they keep me young,” he said. 

“Mr. Touhey has told us we are his favorite class,” Dakota Ramirez ‘25 said, as she talked about her fourth period class.

As Touhey walks around his class, a girl in the back of the class blurts out, “Honestly, Mr. Touhey, you’re the best math teacher I’ve ever had.” 

His students nodded in agreement. 

“Thank you, thank you, I try,” he said with a laugh.