Teacher Profile: Mr. Mayer

Learn more about the upper school science teacher.

Zoe Fried, Contributing Writer for Spokesman

What are your favorite kinds of jokes?

I enjoy puns and one-liners. I once knew a student whose t-shirt read: “There are two types of people in this world, those that can make inferences from partial information…”

What are some of your hobbies?

I like to do outdoorsy things and play basketball with my kids. Generally, I enjoy playing all kinds of games with my children. I also coach my daughter in softball and was involved in my son’s Cub Scouts. My son has since graduated to Boy Scouts, and I will probably get sucked into that, too.

What are some of your favorites? TV shows? Movies? Sports? Books?

I’ve never been much of a reader. My favorite books are the ones I managed to finish, which includes 1984. I like to read about how the brain works. My favorite movie is Office Space, which is a comedy satirizing work life in a late 1990s software company. I have also always been a fan of the Star Wars movies. As for TV shows, all I watch is Big Bang Theory and soccer. And I love Cheers from the 80’s.” However, I am an avid soccer fan: “I enjoy soccer; I play and watch.”

What got you interested in teaching?

I used to work as an engineer before becoming a teacher. However, my favorite part of that job was not the technical aspect, but rather the teaching aspect. I enjoyed the satisfaction that came from helping others and seeing them understand things better and doing things more efficiently. I came to the conclusion that that’s what teaching is all about,. This led me to discovering my calling. I began by working for Rutgers as a high school outreach coordinator, and that enabled me to interact with high school students as I got my teaching degree.

What is your favorite aspect of physics?

So many ideas from science can be seen in everyday life. The fact that it is applicable to everyday experiences. I can throw a ball. I can shoot a rubber band across a room. I can look through a lens and see stuff. There are relatively few ideas that are applicable over and over again.

If you could give one piece of advice to your students, what would it be?

Focus on the big ideas, learn those big ideas very well, as best you can. The details fall into place. The fascination with physics is the big concepts and the details will filter in eventually over time.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

Read people’s minds, but that could be creepy. Or I think moving things with my mind. Reading people’s minds could be useful as a teacher because you can see where [students] are really struggling and you can help them that way. And tell when they are lying to me.