Tracey Martin: “Digging deeper” into history at LQHS


Eden Gorges

Tracey Martin, new history and ethnic studies teacher at La Quinta High.

As students arrive at Tracey Martin’s second period world history class on a September morning, they’re hit with the bitter blast of the vents. 

The classroom lights are off, the only thing providing light is the projector, which portrays a vibrant blue tint. The wall is lined with “Parks and Recreation” posters hanging above the cellphone holders. 

The students are silently writing, but then a male sophomore cracks a joke that students can’t help but laugh at. Martin jokes along while asking his students to quiet down. The students respectfully stop their chatter. 

There’s a warm and comfortable atmosphere in the air as the sophomores are ruminating over their notes. 

Martin teaches tenth grade World History, eleventh grade U.S. History and 12th grade Ethnic Studies. Martin was “throwing” out resumes left and right until James Martin, a fellow new teacher at the high school, alerted him of openings at La Quinta High School and he, too, decided to “throw his hat in the ring.” 

Martin attended a private high school called Bloomington Christian in Calif., then took a gap year to work. After he attended Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa, he then transferred to Cal State San Bernardino. Martin later graduated to USC after transferring through a graduate program.

Martin chose to teach history because he enjoyed knowing why things were.

 “I always asked why,” he said.

Martin originally planned to study psychology but ended up more interested in history after taking his general education courses. Something that really changed his mind was one of his professors in college.

 “Everything you’ve learned in high school, we’re going to go deeper than that and we’re gonna show you the stuff that’s left out on purpose and the stuff that is just forgotten about,” he recalls one of his professors saying.

Martin got to see U.S. history from a whole different perspective. 

“[It was] really refreshing, and really cool to be like, ‘Oh, that happened, really?’ Pretty shocking, honestly,” Martin said. 

He believes English and history are quite similar, both subjects focus on digging deeper, and if he taught English he could choose historical topics for essays. Martin believes history and English is looking at authors in the past and hypothesizing what it is they are trying to tell the people of the present with what they wrote. 

On the topic of Martin’s favorite book and TV shows, he leans more towards the latter. Most books that were read by him consisted of books he needed to read for school. Although he enjoyed “Psychology in the Classroom,” a book about how to treat kids as if they were adults essentially. Having the dynamic of respect towards students as well as the students having respect towards the teacher. 

The most recent book Martin has started is “The Institute” by Stephen King. Martin’s only halfway through due to the fact that he doesn’t have a lot of time to finish books. It’s quite frustrating reading a book and then not having the time to finish it, you forget the plot and then have to reread.

Martin thoroughly enjoys goofy sitcoms. They’re good to play in the background while he grades and plans lessons because he doesn’t have to pay that much attention to it. Martin believes it’s good to laugh.

“Laughing is one of the best things in the world, and if I can sit there and laugh by myself in my room, then it’s a good show,” Martin said.

Martin’s philosophy is that education is super important. He tries to encourage all his students to do something post-high school.

“Whether that be college or a trade school because you don’t have to go to college,” he said, “you can do other things post-school that are still going to challenge you intellectually.” 

Martin believes every problem in this world could be solved with education. By learning what the problem is, you can find the best solution to employ and the best way to employ it.

“It all boils down to how educated you are on the subject, so literally anything can be saved with education if you take the time to understand it,” Martin said.

Martin is the club adviser for Gay Straight Alliance (GSA). He’s always been pretty vocal about letting everyone just live and kind of deal. 

“Everyone deserves to have the same equal rights, treatment, and benefits that everyone else gets,” said Martin. 

Martin is a huge nerd: it started with comic books and video games, but all downward spiraled after that.

Eden Gorges
Tracey Martin holding a student’s assembled gingerbread house in his classroom.

Martin loves the stories because when reading he isn’t tied down to literal reality. Martin enjoys exercising his brain while hanging out with friends by playing tabletop or board games. Martin jokes, not wanting his brain to deteriorate over time. 

“I hope by the time I get old, my brain will not just be gone,” Martin said.

Martin’s belief is to take one day at a time and deal with life.

“I think that a lot of misunderstandings we have today, whether it be politically or religiously or racially, any of that I feel as though it just comes down to not fully understanding each other, and I think education helps bridge that gap,” Martin said.