Lowell Tuckerman: From the press box to the classroom

Teacher+Lowell+Tuckerman+working+at+KTRB+860+AM%2C+the+flagship+radio+station+of+the+Oakland+Athletics.

Larry Wong

Teacher Lowell Tuckerman working at KTRB 860 AM, the flagship radio station of the Oakland Athletics.

By Steven Deng and Oce Bohra

English teacher Lowell Tuckerman sits at his desk as his students work on their respective assignments. With his microphone by his side, Tuckerman watches his class, occasionally reminding them to remain on task.

It’s apparent that Tuckerman is an unorthodox teacher. At the beginning of the year, he assigned typing lessons to improve his students’ digital literacy. He uses a microphone to make announcements to the class from his desk and gives out ‘employability’ points.

While he’s already had a discernible impact on his students, he’s also impressed some of his fellow teachers. 

“I like that he is personable and that he genuinely wants to be here; he wants to learn from other people. He doesn’t come in here thinking he knows everything.” fellow English teacher Mr. Michael Morelli said. “He’s been teaching for longer than I have, so the fact that he really wants to learn from me and other teachers says a lot about him. I love that he’s open to new ideas.” 

When the final bell rings, his sophomore English class files out and starts to head home, go to club meetings or rush to the bathroom. Tuckerman, however, makes his way to the Oakland Coliseum during baseball season to perform his duties for the A’s flagship radio station KTRB 860 AM.

“I was a big A’s fan growing up and now I get to work for the A’s flagship radio station, which is just awesome. If you were to tell me that I would be doing this three years ago, that I’d be working for 860 AM — the flagship station for the A’s — hosting a show on Sunday nights during the football season and getting to go to every A’s game and interviewing the manager and the players after games, I would’ve said, ‘You’re crazy. That’s not going to happen,’ but it did,” Tuckerman shared. “I’ve been extremely fortunate; I have one of the best part-time jobs any teacher could have.”

Before sports broadcasting, Tuckerman played on the baseball team at Dublin High School.

“I enjoyed sports so much, which is why I wanted to major in sports broadcasting in college and pursue that. So baseball has been my biggest passion and the sport that kind of kick-started my interest [in broadcasting],” Tuckerman explained.

He initially worked as a board operator at his radio station before asking to audition for some on-air work. He then reported on traffic updates before moving onto sports updates and eventually his own Sunday night sports talk show.  

Tuckerman hopes to share his knowledge in sports broadcasting by pitching a new class for it at Dougherty. He plans for this class to cover all aspects of sports broadcasting, including announcing, interviewing, play-by-play and producing.

“I think it would generate some interest and more than anything else, I just want to see, ‘Is there anything I can do to enrich Dougherty Valley?’ ‘Can I bring something to this school that they don’t have, and something that the students, faculty, and the community would appreciate?’” Tuckerman said. “So I’m going to be pitching a sports broadcasting class to give students a chance to see what that industry is like, and who knows? Maybe some of them will discover a passion in that industry.”

Before teaching at Dougherty, Tuckerman spent four years teaching for Stockton Unified, where his students also gave him his street name — Jefe, which means “boss” in Spanish. 

“My teaching in the inner city made me grateful to be in a location where I have both parent and student support, and I don’t have to worry about being the kid’s big brother or the kid’s dad — I can just be a teacher [at Dougherty]. And that’s what I really appreciate,” Tuckerman reflected. “I had students who, when I would come into school in the morning, were sleeping on the bench outside of my classroom. Or they’re curled up in a ball in a sleeping bag outside of the school gates waiting to come in. Perspective is everything. I have perspective.”

In addition to fulfilling his role as a teacher for the students there, he acted as a “therapist,” offering emotional support to his students. 

“Many of the students here, they look back five to 10 years from now, [and] they’ll vaguely remember their teachers, let’s be honest,” Tuckerman said. “But for someone to remember me for helping them out in a tough time and giving them a lot of emotional support, that means a lot to me.”

While a mutual respect exists between Tuckerman and his Stockton students, Tuckerman is also held in high regard by students and staff at Dougherty Valley. Morelli, a fellow A’s fan, complimented Tuckerman’s wit and funny personality and recounted a time when Tuckerman gave him “cool little goodie things” from the radio station.

“I feel like I’ve been teaching with him for years already … I think that’s pretty cool,” Morelli concluded.

This story was originally published on Wildcat Tribune on December 9, 2019.