Physics teacher Dr. Jason Tong was born in Syracuse, New York and has been interested in physics since high school. He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he got his bachelor’s degree in engineering, and Syracuse University, where he got his PhD. He is currently finishing up his master’s degree in education at Lesley University.
What are you most excited for at Brookline High School?
I like the staff. They seem to be very open about trying new things in school and give teachers some freedom to be creative and innovate and do what they think is going to work best, rather than fit into certain expectations.
What are you most nervous for?
I’ve never taught high school before and I don’t have any teenage kids of my own. That age group is new to me, so just getting comfortable with them.
How would you describe your teaching style?
Very cooperative. What I tell my students at the beginning of each year is that when you go out in life you aren’t going to have someone telling you things all the time. You’re going to have to figure out things for yourself, so, that’s the thing that I’m trying to give to the students right now.
What is your main goal for your students?
My goals are to teach them how to learn themselves, how to solve problems and how to work with other people to solve problems because that is something they’re going to need to know when they go out, regardless of what field they’re in. In any business, even if you’re working in a fast food restaurant, you’re working to solve problems together. There aren’t a lot of jobs now where you just show up and just mindlessly do what they tell you to do and then you go home. I know most people may never take another physics course again, but if they learn how to solve problems on their own, then I have accomplished what the state wants me to accomplish, which is to give everybody this education.
How do you try and make class interesting for everyone?
I try and relate it to people’s everyday lives or, again, concentrate on the process of solving a problem versus the actual problem itself. Some people might be interested in learning how to work together or learning how to study stuff even if the particular subject isn’t interesting to them. They might be learning how to use a new measurement tool or a new mathematical concept, and they’ll find some way of applying it to something else in their life.