New Kid In Town: Mr. Lee

New Kid In Town: Mr. Lee

Editor’s Note: The following is an editorial piece.

Plot twist: That new senior that wears dress shirts and fancy shoes to school everyday? Not a new student. That would be the 34 year-old Mr. Lee, the interim math teacher taking over pre-calculus, algebra I, and FST classes while Mrs. Bucco is out on maternity leave. In just two months of taking over, Mr. Lee has transformed students’ opinions on math.

A Rutgers graduate, majoring in mathematics, teaching wasn’t always his go-to profession. “In all honesty, nothing attracted me, per sé,” said Mr. Lee, “but it was something I fell into and realized I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would.”

And we’ve enjoyed having him: Mr. Lee’s innovative and unorthodox teaching methods –which include everything from turning the floors into a coordinate plane to graph vectors, to creating YouTube vlogs that both entertain and educate.

While we were surprised by his innovative methods, he was surprised by us– particularly our drive and motivation. “As teachers, we’re told that one of our goals is to motivate students to be interested in what’s going on in the classroom instead of other things in life. But here, it seems like they’re genuinely motivated by what’s going on in class.”

Mr. Lee says that seeing this drive and motivation is one of the most rewarding things about his job. But, as previously mentioned, this wasn’t his original career plan.

“I had no initial plans to go into teaching,” but, according to Mr. Lee, “it was always something I thought I would retire doing– I’d do something, make a lot of money, and spend my older years teaching. It wasn’t until I ended up teaching courses at a tutoring center in college that I ended up enjoying it.”

Despite the fact that Mr. Lee is as comfortable in front of a high school classroom as a Broadway performer is on a stage, he wouldn’t describe teaching as one of his sole passions or hobbies. Outside of Hills, you can see him working on cars, computer programming, or, on a summer afternoon, perhaps you’d find him sailing.

But all of these passions take a backseat for the two loves of his life: his wife, Ester, and his daughter, Mackenzie. These two are frequent topics of conversation upon the occasional divagation in class, and he always speaks with pride and happiness of his family, something that makes him just as admirable of a person as it makes him a great educator.

If you’re an aspiring teacher, there are three words that Mr. Lee recommends you abide by while instructing: “Never stop learning.” While some people think they know everything they need to know when they exit college, Mr. Lee explains that teaching is not a profession this applies to. “You always have to adapt, learn new things, and most importantly, understand the newer generation. Even though I may feel young, I know I seem relatively old in the eyes of students– as soon as you graduate college, you are no longer the newer generation.”

Using his own advice, Mr. Lee has managed to adapt excellently to being a Cowboy in just a short time span. And though we know Mr. Lee’s stay is likely temporary, we are extremely grateful for bringing a great energy to the classroom