Physics teacher, Dr. Tom Smock, is going to retire from what he calls the “most honest school” he has ever worked at, Morris Hills High School. Dr. Smock is not only a teacher; he is also a father to his children, grandfather to his grandchildren, a former baseball coach, and an author of a book on teaching. Dr. Smock coached baseball for ten of his 32 years and has taught AP Physics 16 out of the 32. To this day, if you walk into his classroom, you will see framed pictures of his former students spread across one wall, which shows that he really values developing relationships with all of his students. In the beginning of the year of a student asked, “When will you stop putting up pictures?” Dr. Smock simply stated that he would stop when runs out of wall space or on the day of his retirement. Unfortunately, this day is approaching.
Dr. Smock has imparted his wisdom, much which he credits to his colleagues, in a book that he wrote titled The Good Teacher’s Almanac. In the book, he guides the reader in the steps to becoming a good teacher. He incorporates philosophical values gained through life experiences into the text. He is humbled in the beginning as he writes that he definitely was not a good teacher at the start of his career, however his students would disagree. Current student, junior Ben Lee said, “Doctor Smock is an intuitive teacher that uses students’ desire for knowledge as a way to get them to learn. He teaches in a way that uses concepts as the main basis for the students’ knowledge and allows them to build connections through intense problem solving.” His students are honored to be learning through his lectures, stories, and demonstrations. During his classes, Dr. Smock teaches the curriculum for physics as well as the curriculum for a good life. Out of everything he has taught, Dr. Smock’s students cite his appreciation for simplicity as one of his most valuable lessons. He may just be the last man without a cell phone! After retirement, Dr. Smock plans to go on vacation with his wife during the month of September since teachers are always busy during this month. Morris Hills congratulates Dr. Smock on his retirement.