New Faces 2020: David Tanabe

First a parent and lawyer, now David Tanabe is a full-time teacher, converted to an educator. 

Tanabe got a Bachelor’s degree in US history and a Juris Doctor degree from law school at UC Berkeley. He then practiced law as an attorney in Hawaii for 20 years, meeting his wife and starting a family during that time. But the attorney workload was too much, and Tanabe’s wife told him that it was unsustainable—he kept working until 10 or 11 pm, and wasn’t home for his daughters. She wanted a change. “What did you want to do before you were an attorney?,” she asked him. Tanabe replied: “I love teaching.” 

With further influence from his parents, friends and family, Tanabe enrolled at the University of Hawaii to study for an education degree. Once he earned it, he started working as a teacher, and taught at Campbell High school for Social Studies and Avid. His first class had 32 students in their freshman year, and he was with them as their AVID teacher until they graduated in 2019. “It was a rewarding experience to see them grow from freshmen and to see them go to college,” he said. Now he teaches AP US history at Kaiser. 

Tanabe wants his students to pass high school, and to provide any assistance they need, going above and beyond. Once, he received an email from a student who needed help, and he sent out an email to everyone explaining the student’s question. “I am answering her question to everyone, in case anyone has the same needs,” Tanabe said in the email. To this day, he encourages his classes to email him with questions, and has even offered to help students during the weekends. 

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