Allegra D’Virgilio, Reporter
On any given day you can find Mr. Haag teaching a variety of classes, such as Astronomy classes in the planetarium, or an Honors Earth Science class in room 307, just like he has been at NCHS for seventeen years now. He is constantly very busy working to share his knowledge and passion for science with his students. Tim Haag currently teaches Physics, Astronomy, and Honors Earth Science, and he was even the Department Head for eight years. All of these experiences have allowed him to work with all grades, freshmen through seniors, parents, and even the administration, an experience that very few teachers have been able to have. Mr. Haag has a unique perspective on education, science, and working with students to ensure that everyone he teaches gains new useful knowledge.
Q: How did you know that you wanted to pursue science as a career and not just as a passion?
A: I have always been interested in science and loved nature and the outdoors, so that really started it. I remember being in high school and there was a new environmental science course that I took. When I got to college, I started to take courses with more of a focus on physical sciences and took a number of biology and ecology courses as well. I ended up majoring in environmental education.
Q: Did you always know you wanted to be a teacher?
A: When I was in college I worked at a summer camp as a counsellor for a summer job and absolutely loved it. I also took a psychology course in college and as a requirement I had to work in one of the local schools. I decided at that point, because of those two experiences, I wanted to pursue teaching as a career.
Q: What is your favorite part of being a teacher?
A: That is a tough question. There are so many things about teaching that I love. Since I have been teaching here for 17 years, the people that I work with are just fantastic, and when I say the people I mean the staff and the students. I think we have an outstanding group of teachers in the science department, but it’s really the students that keep me and all of the teachers going. I love all my classes and have so much fun teaching here.
Q: Are there any differences between teaching your freshman classes and junior/senior classes?
A: Older students are certainly more mature;; one of the pleasures I get is seeing students again as seniors that I had as freshman. I have seen many students that really struggled as freshmen and then had them as juniors and seniors and I saw that they were doing so much better. It is really wonderful to see them grow up as students and as people as well.
Q: What are some of your hobbies outside of school, either science or non-science related?
A: Well, as I said, I love being outdoors, so I do a lot of hiking. I also do woodworking. I am always building small items such as furniture, and I am even working on building a house right now.
Q: What is your favorite memory or experience that you have learned a major lesson from? How do you apply that to your teaching?
A: It’s hard to pick just one thing. I guess so many different incidents in teaching have taught me how to work with people, whether it’s being in a classroom or doing things outside of the classroom. I have had many different responsibilities at the school. I was department chair for eight years, which gave me a different perspective on how the district and the school are run. There were many experiences and types of people I dealt with that taught me how to deal with people differently, and that is a part of what makes this job exciting.
Q: What is the major thing you hope students take away from your class?
A: I want students to have a love for learning and know that school is more than learning a bunch of facts. School is learning about the world around us and how to deal with a variety of situations. From a science standpoint, I would hope they get background knowledge and experience the links between science and their daily lives, not only now but thirty years from now.