Teachers Reflect on Their Careers

Mr. Tipper, Mr. Atallah and Mr. Buckley get candid in a Q&A

Geoff Tipper 

Q: What is the best thing about being a teacher?
A: “The best thing about being a teacher is the daily interactions and growth that you see both in the students and myself when I learn new tricks on how to teach something or just new information on something I hadn’t thought about before. That kind of growth that you get to see on a daily basis is the best.”

Q: What is the worst thing about being a teacher?
A: “It’s grading hands down. Really the only two pieces that are usually mentioned are grading and discipline… It absorbs your outside life, your family life. It gets in the way of that a little bit.”

Q: Do you know any other languages, and how does it impact your teaching?
A: “I know sign language… learning how the language crafts your thinking as much as it gives you another way to express [yourself]… [learning a new language] has helped me to understand that, when a student is thinking in another language, it’s not just other words, it’s other conceptual structures that may be in place, and hopefully it gives me a way to connect to the student a little more.”

Adam Atallah 

Q: What do you wish you knew when you were in high school?
A: “Oh man… I mean so many things. It’s hard to develop correct priorities when you’re at that age, and so I wish I would have listened to people with experience more. I wish my priorities would have been better. It’s not something you can learn at that age, but if I had a wish, it would be that my priorities would have been better.”

Q: What is a fun fact about yourself ?
A: “I am in a band with other teachers, with Cliff Nelson, Bruno Dworzak and our new lead guitarist, John Tezak. We are “The Generations,” and we will be playing a lunch show soon.”

Q: What is the best thing about being a teacher?
A: “I get to talk about every aspect that I learned. I get to use the things that I’m learning today. I get to use current events. I get to talk about everything I have learned in my entire life and share that, and that’s awesome.”

Will Buckley 

Q: What is your favorite memory from Woodbridge High?

A: “At the end of the year I always do my exit talk with students. I do my famous [lab coat signing]… It’s like a culmination of ‘here is all the relationships I have with students.’ I’m very open about my relationships with students; I love teaching them and how much they teach me.”

Q: What is the biggest source of joy in your life?A: “My fiancee, my cat and teaching. I feel like those three combined make my life. I get to show up, talk about something I really love to people I really love, and I get to go home, tell my cat about it and then my fiance gets home, and I get to tell her about it. I just keep talking about how good my day is.”

Q: What do you wish you knew when you were in high school?
A: “I have very successful friends, who if I ask them what a mole is in chemistry, they would have no clue. I think I put too much effort into being the smartest person I could be. I realize now that knowing all this chemistry is important, it makes me a better person, but is that the end of it?”