I’ve discussed a number of famous and notable MIT alums here, but I haven’t talked about any MIT alumni K-12 teachers. A number of my friends and acquaintances are teachers, and they are fantastic.
Nobody cuts Mr. Goodman’s class.
In Robert Goodman’s physics class at Bergen County Technical High School, students sit at round tables and are asked to solve problems too complicated for one. So, they tap their social network, divvy up the equations and trade measurements with their friends.
Goodman does the near impossible. He makes physics class a cool place. In recognition, he’s been selected as the New Jersey Teacher of the Year.
The press release provided a bit of a bio:
After graduating from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in physics, Goodman embarked on a career in technology, entering the high fidelity business. For the next 15 years, he designed equipment and ran several companies, including Harman Kardon, JBL Consumer Products and Onkyo International Operations.
And then, in the course of working on a particular project, he re-opened a physics textbook he had in college. “I realized I had forgotten the joy of doing basic physics problems,” he said. “I began to see that there was an option that I had never considered — teaching physics at a high school level. That would allow me to teach students the physics that I loved as well as the way of thinking about the world that is intrinsic to physics.”
Goodman enrolled in the State University of New York at Stony Brook where he earned his masters in teaching (physics). He joined Bergen County Technical Schools in 1999, where he has taught physics honors, advanced placement physics, modern physics and computer aided design. In the 2002-03 school year, he served as director of curriculum for the Englewood Public Schools and oversaw a complete revamping of the district’s course offerings.
Congratulations, Mr. Goodman!
Somewhat relatedly, most people are unaware that MIT actually has a pretty cool Teacher Education Program. I actually received my concentration at MIT in education through this set of classes. I encourage you to check it out, and to read about some of the cool stuff they’re doing in this article.
[further update tomorrow, after we return from the College Board Forum]