Last year, Mr. Patrick Makowski joined the Governor Livingston community as a student teacher as he began to observe the physics classes taught by Ms. Agnostak and Mrs. Buchan. At the start of this school year, he picked up two Honors Physics courses, and will soon begin teaching a third class. Teaching physics, however, was never on Makowski’s agenda when he was in high school. He never even took the class. After he took calculus, though, he realized his love for math and science.
Taking calculus helped Makowski realize that physics could be a possible career path for him. At Rutgers, Makowski originally wanted to study engineering. At Rutgers, he was introduced to physics, and his natural talent for it allowed him to start informally tutoring friends, which evolved into helping high school students weekly at a public library. He also started teaching lab classes, was mentored by an expert, and learned the basics of the subject, furthering his knowledge of science, in general. Mr. Makowski found that his favorite part about physics was, and still is, the ability “to find the answer to so many questions” more so than in any other class.
Since becoming a student teacher, Makowski has developed a daily routine to stay prepared. With so many different aspects to a day of teaching, Makowski is still getting used to being in the front of the classroom. He realizes how nerve-racking teaching in front of students is while making sure the “lab area is prepared, ideas are written on the board, and everything is ready for class.” A lot of preparation goes into each day, and Makowski has quickly learned the importance of time management for organization. He specifically notes the difficulty of predicting how long a lesson will take, and worries if it will take too long or not enough time. Makowski always takes time to wrap up the lesson and make sure everyone is clear on upcoming assignments.
Observing Mrs. Buchan and Mrs. Agnostak has truly helped him feel ready to take on two classes. Mr. Makowski said the two teachers have given him great advice about getting to know the students and answered all his questions. The best advice he received from them is that a teacher “can know everything about a subject and plan the perfect lesson, but if [they] cannot reach the kids the lesson will never be as successful.” Makowski stressed the importance of ensuring students are able to laugh and have fun in a lighthearted classroom setting, rather than himself being an authoritative figure. The most satisfying part about teaching, according to Makowski, is seeing students understand the material. When students raise their hands or show an interest in class discussions, it makes him feel accomplished.
Makowski’s energetic personality is not just seen in the classroom. Outside of school, he enjoys rock climbing at the Gravity Vault in a close knit community and a relaxed environment. He started climbing for fun and now owns gear and enjoys spending his weekends participating in the sport. In high school, Makowski started playing piano and violin too, as music comes pretty easily to him. With not too much downtime since his teaching started, his Yorkie puppy tends to keep him busy. He joked that he is a physics nerd, saying he has lots of electrostatic figures and pieces of metal and batteries floating around his house.
In the future, Makowski feels confident he will find a job after graduating. The job market for physics is very large and there are lots of positions in demand, which is helpful for Makowski in terms of finding a full time position. Although every district and state varies in their needs, he hopes to get a teaching position for physics and after that, maybe even try to become a principal or have another administrative position. All of this will be possible after the end of his student teaching, which has been a rough process that Makowski jokes about. Governor Livingston is happy to welcome Mr. Makowski to the staff and is excited to see what the future holds.