Ceramicist? Lumberjack? Fisherman? SRCS Alum and Adventurer Mr. Sieg Returns Home to Teach


Betsy Cifuentes, Contributor

Tobias Sieg, also known as Mr. Sieg, decided to return to his hometown, and is now teaching sophomore social studies and a senior AVID class after about 18 years of not being in San Rafael but instead traveling the world.

He is open to all sorts of adventure and trying new things in general. You can catch him biking around campus, not only with a smile on his face but also with his colorful fun shirts on as well.

During the hiring process, on the staff panel, Ms. Farrell, Head of the Social Studies Department said, “He seemed like someone who would get along well with students and would be invested in their learning. Plus it’s always great to have our alumni return to teach at our school.”

Mr. Sieg is a 2004 graduate of SRHS. Despite him being a first-year teacher, many students say he’s doing a phenomenal job.

“Besides him being patient and one of the best teachers, I always have fun in his class because he makes his class exciting and I truly appreciate that because not many teachers put in the effort to go the extra mile and do that,” said sophomore Adan Gomez.

“When Mr. Sieg took over, I just knew by the looks of it, he was going to be a teacher I knew I could rely on,” said senior Noelia Gramajo. “Not to mention his positive attitude we students get to encounter every day when we walk through that door.”

However, it was always in his plans to get his teaching credential and teach but he just wanted to explore and travel first. He enjoys the outdoors. His adventures when traveling consist of camping, hiking, festivals, tree climbing, sailing, backpacking, kayaking, and biking.

“I’m always looking for the best parts of this thing we call life,” said Mr. Sieg. “I’m always trying to make real human connections with every interaction that I have because I want it to be real and meaningful all around.”

Mr. Sieg has so many shareable experiences and knowledge about various different things because of his many different careers and travels. Due to this, students have become better-informed and learned more about things in the real world because of these interesting experiences he’s open about with his classes. Some could say this benefits the students in a way because his stories from his youth can be relatable.

Since Mr. Sieg was young, he always wanted to travel the world and he made dream into reality by going to China, New Zealand, Thailand, Australia, Chile, Mexico, and Russia. “School will always be here and you can always come back to it,” said Mr. Sieg. When he shared this with senior Bryan Enriquez’s class, it inspired to chase his dreams with music. He will still be obtaining an education past high school at College of Marin but plans to prioritize his passion first and then later on hopefully continue his education at a public university.

“He’s very thoughtful and encouraging,” said senior Misael Vardado. “You can see that with the way he teaches our AVID class by always trying to help us resolve our own problems.”

He grew up in a small house in the Woodland neighborhood of San Rafael, went to Coleman Elementary, Davidson Middle school, San Rafael High School, and then attended college at Cal Poly Humboldt. Mr. Sieg had numerous jobs after all of that: working as a fisherman, firefighter, tree climber, tour guide, construction worker, a helicopter-born lumberjack, and much more.

After he finished getting his teaching credential in 2019 at San Francisco State University, he came back to live in that small house in Woodland with his new wife, Nadia Sieg.

“It never really occurred to me to come back to San Rafael High School,” Mr. Sieg said. “The opportunity presented itself so I took it upon myself to apply and to my surprise they reached back out offering me this job.”

It is also because of this current job he was offered another long-term substitute position for the following semester at his old middle school, Davidson, thanks to Karla Oseguera, who happens to be the teacher he is currently subbing for and Cody Cox, whose classroom he will take over.

Despite his mother’s recent passing during the first few weeks of this new job deeply affecting his teaching journey, he managed to return and continue to make a constructive impact on his students’ lives.

Mr. Sieg admitted, “It has been a challenge because it feels as if I’ve been playing catch-up ever since this loss of mine. It threw the positive direction I was going in all up in the air.” He shows students that even the most difficult and impacting obstacles can be overcome.

“My favorite thing about him has to be, that he’s an extremely nice and understanding teacher that explains everything well and he never fails to make us all laugh,” said sophomore Liliana Diaz.

Even though teaching has been a lot harder than he imagined it to be, he plans to go back to school to become an art teacher and Mr. Sieg says it would be great to come back to become a ceramics teacher within the SRCS district.

Students say they believe that Mr. Sieg genuinely cares about the community of this school and especially the students within it.

Mr. Sieg will depart San Rafael High School after this semester. All of his students are sad to see him go and they wish him the best of luck at Davidson.

“Our AVID class has become even more united thanks to him,” said senior Hellen Cotom. “There is nothing better than having a class that supports each other as much as we do.”

“He’s an honest, authentic, real, and genuine person which is why I feel like I can talk to him about anything,” said senior John Maldonado. “Whoever gets him as a teacher is very fortunate to have him.”