Deepa Patel may teach the past and present, but she creates futures for everyone

Behind the Whiteboard


Jane Wantland, The Freelancer

Deepa Patel teaches Economics, Government, and AP European History at La Serna.

Jane Wantland, Features Editor

Deepa Patel may be known by many of her students as an Economics, Government, and AP European History teacher. Strangely, most people might not know anything else about her.

The Freelancer chose to interview her to show students how history can impact anyone.

What made you want to pursue a teaching career?

“I think when I was in high school, or even before high school, I really loved history more than anything else and I wanted to find a job where I could actually talk about history a lot. I had thought about getting my PhD and potentially becoming an academic in a university setting, but I didn’t enjoy the research as much. What I really liked was teaching. I thought this was the perfect fit.”

What is the best part about being a teacher?

“Interacting with the students. I have a lot of fun with the students themselves. In an AP class it can be pretty serious, but in my college prep level classes I have a lot of fun joking around with everybody and having fun during class time.”

If you could go back in time, where would you go and why?

“Either I would go back to the Renaissance and be in Italy, Rome or Florence. It could be pretty exciting to see all the changes that were going on. Or, I would want to go back to maybe the time of the American Revolution or the writing of the Constitution. It was such a dynamic time for change with new a political invention, a brand new government being created; it had never been done before. I think it would’ve been exciting to live through.”

If you could travel to anywhere today, where would you go and why?

“I’m probably going to go to The Netherlands or Belgium possibly this summer or go back to England. A┬áplace I really want to go in the next ten years is East Africa. I’d like to go to Kenya or Tanzania.”

Do you have a secret talent?

“Oh gosh, no. I play violin on and off.”

If you had a superpower what would it be?

“If I had a superpower, I would want to control time. Either to stop time or to go back in time. Probably because I’m a history teacher and partly because there is so much work to do in a day, like grade hundreds of essays. If I could stop time, get my work done and then I’d resume time again. That would would be convenient.”