As a math teacher, there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing a student navigate through a difficult problem, and then seeing that student gain a feeling of self-confidence as they proudly unearth the correct answer.”

Gregory Estaris

Math & Science
VDA Teacher Since 2015

Tell me a little bit about your personal and educational background.
I have always had a passion for technical subjects, such as math and science. I graduated from University of California at Irvine with a degree in Biological Sciences thinking I would find a career in the health field or medical research industry. I went on to pursue further education by studying abroad and getting a degree in dentistry from the Philippines. Living in a third world country and seeing where my parents were raised was a humbling and life-changing experience for me. After I returned, I had an even greater respect for my parents, the hardship they endured to get to the United States, and I had a newfound appreciation of life in general.

When and why did you decide to become a teacher?
About 8 years ago, while studying for my dental board exams, I began working as a tutor and mentor for a nonprofit organization in Santa Ana. Working with dozens of under-privileged children was an eye opening experience for me that made me realize my purpose and importance as an educator in my community. I was able to see many of my students graduate high school and get accepted to prestigious colleges and universities. This made me realize that having good educators and receiving a quality education are crucial necessities in a young child's life. I have since worked in the private education sector, helping hundreds of students pursue their dreams of achieving academic excellence. I have worked mostly as an in-home instructor and private tutor.

If you specialize in a particular subject area, why did you choose that specialty?
I have a passion for both math and science, but I absolutely love math for the truth that it brings to an inquiring student. I feel that every math problem is a challenge or mystery to be unraveled in order to find truth, and any subject that empowers a student by providing the tools necessary for finding the truth is a subject worth cherishing. As a math teacher, there's nothing more rewarding than seeing a student navigate through a difficult problem, and then seeing that student gain a feeling of self-confidence as they proudly unearth the correct answer. As I jokingly say to my colleagues, "I believe the truth is out there. It's just hidden behind all sorts of crazy formulas and arduous equations."

What brought you to VanDamme Academy?
I first was introduced to VanDamme Academy when I was offered a private tutoring position for a student at the school. The student and I worked one on one on the school grounds. As the year went on, I became enthralled with the learning culture that was being promoted at the academy, and took notice of the positive nature of the staff and student body. Seeing such an encouraging learning environment is inspiring to me as an educator, and makes me hopeful for the welfare of the students here at the school. When I was approached by the academy to work in a broader setting with groups of students, I jumped at the opportunity. I am now more than thrilled to be part of such an innovative and motivating group of educators.

Do you have any favorite stories about your teaching experience?
I have so many stories I wish I could share, because I experience them constantly. One of my favorite stories is about a struggling student who was diagnosed with multiple learning conditions, including ADD and dyslexia. When I first met him, he was having a difficult time passing his math and English tests. He was undeterred by this, and told me that when he finished high school, his goal was to get his degree and go on to become a lawyer. We worked together practically every day for a few years, and through his hard work, he transformed himself into a straight-A student. He did go on to college, and is currently studying for his LSATs. He will be applying for law school in a year.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I recently got married to the love of my life, and now all my free time goes to her... or else. (If you are reading this, I love you honey!) In all seriousness, I do enjoy spending my time just relaxing at home with my wife. I'm not much of a partygoer. Although I have been known to get a little crazy with numbers from time to time.

Do you have children of your own?
Not yet, although we would love to have some of our own.

Is there anything else you think parents or prospective parents should know about you?
I am very easy to talk to, and always willing to answer any questions parents may have for me.