ThinkTank Learning (TTL) teachers connect with each student to create a meaningful framework that nurtures curiosity and creativity. Each month we highlight a teacher (nominated by students, parents, and staff) who exemplifies excellence in education. We’re proud to announce our teacher of the month, Patrick Clark, who consistently keeps students engaged with his energy and enthusiasm.
Patrick has a proven track record for helping students crack the ACT and score in the top 1%. Last month, Patrick led a student to achieve a perfect score of 36 on the Reading and English sections, and a near perfect 35 composite/total score.
“I treat students and parents as equal people, right from the beginning,” Patrick said. “I am open, honest, transparent, and approachable, and I make it clear I expect the same from them.”
This teamwork approach is how Patrick closely connects with students and parents.
“Seeing a young person empowered, seeing a young person take flight, seeing a family realize its collective dreams,” says Patrick. “Honestly, there’s nothing better.”
Patrick earned a Bachelor’s in English from Santa Clara University and a Master’s in Education at Cal State East Bay. Before working in education, Patrick worked as a technical writer for various biotech companies, including NASA.
“Some engineers and scientists wanted help with English, and they asked me because I seemed approachable, I guess,” said Patrick. “Before I knew it I was teaching a seminar style class two days a week on our lunch break.”
According to Patrick, his ‘students’ at NASA—some of them literally rocket scientists—were hungry and inspired.
“They wanted to know grammar, public speaking, debate, composition, technical writing, interviewing, poetry, literature—you name it,” said Patrick.
Patrick has been teaching at the high schools and universities for 20 years, spending 15 of those years as the Department/Program Chair and the Dean. Passionate and committed, he loves nothing more than seeing students attain academic excellence and achieve their dreams. However, the best training Patrick has ever received comes from listening to his students and their parents.
“Patrick has consistently led TTL students to new levels of connection to literature and language, as well as breaking the ceiling on the testing potential.”
“I am always working on my teaching,” said Patrick. “It is literally a daily activity for me, just part of my job and my life.”
At ThinkTank Learning, Patrick teaches middle and high school students grammar, composition, literature, debate, public speaking, critical thinking, test prep (SAT, ACT, SAT II, AP Lit, AP Lang and Comp, GMAT, GRE, verbal portion of the MCAT, logic portion of the LSAT, ISEE, HPST, TACHS, COOP, SSAT), and history (also APUSH and SAT II History).
When it comes to his teaching philosophy, Patrick favors the Socratic approach, “especially for test prep or anything related to argument, debate, or critical thinking,” said Clark.
For Patrick, “teaching is the noblest essence of humanity” and he’s always looking to bring a fresh approach to his job by experimenting. He knows that nothing comes easy as a teacher and a tutor, but helping others is a joy that makes it all worthwhile.
“Young people have much more drive than people think—they really do want to succeed, and they really do want to achieve something.”