CAPTION: Mr. Wall, a science teacher who’s taught at AHS for 11 years, concentrates on correcting papers and planning out new lessons to teach his students.
By Sarah Long
MR. WALL OF THE SCIENCE DEPARTMENT LOVES TO TEACH WITH A HINT OF COMEDY AND A KIND DEMEANOR.
What are your biggest interests besides the field you teach in?
Gender bias in science–that’s one of the big ones because your gender and how you identify yourself should not be a determinant as to how well you succeed. Unfortunately, that is not the case, particularly for the science that I teach, physical science, which is basically physics. There is a gap in the way that girls and boys potentially could be successful, based solely on gender, and so those stereotypes need to come down. That’s one of the things that I try to make sure doesn’t happen here.
What prompted you to become a teacher?
I was actually in college, and I was an undecided science major and I knew I liked sciences. Some of my friends and I were literally studying for some exam, and we were in this room and there was a whiteboard and we were helping each other and when it was my turn to explain on the board whatever we were studying for, they were like, “You did that well; you should be a teacher.” Honest to God that is exactly how it happened. I didn’t know what I was going to do, and I’m like, “Really?” So then I just started taking courses that helped lead to this career path.
If you could meet any famous philosopher or scientist, dead or alive, who would you meet and why?
I would want to have a conversation with Isaac Newton because his way of thinking about the natural world was so different from other people at that time or anyone before him had even considered that I just feel like a conversation with Newton would be probably one of the most unique experiences you could have. He was a strange guy, but he was so brilliant that just being able to pick his brain about how he observed nature and how he thought things behaved, I think that would be kind of interesting.
What’s the most interesting thing that you’ve witnessed as a teacher?
Oh boy, there’s a bunch of things you could think of here, but most interesting? I’m going through my Rolodex right now because there’s a few things that I want to say but I don’t know which one is the most interesting. One of the things that’s not even necessarily academic-related but one of the things that I’ve noticed especially here in Andover is that if there’s some type of situation, event, tragedy, the way that the students come together to try to help each other out or even help out other people, different communities, that’s something that happens, ongoing. It’s kind of like an ongoing interesting event that seems to be the case. I’ve been here for eleven years now, and it seems like it’s pretty consistent throughout the time that I’ve been here. One specific thing? Oh man, that’d be tough, there’s a lot of things going on over the last eighteen years I’ve been teaching!