American Physical Society

Mary Lee McJimsey - High School Physics Teacher

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Job Info

North Central High School

Position Type:

Job skills:
Complex problem solving
Synthesizing information
Mathematical skills
Knowledge of physics principles
Team work

Mary Lee McJimsey's Job:
Spend a little time in Mary Lee McJimsey's classroom and you will soon realize that she is not your traditional physics teacher. On a typical day,  she may ask her students to use the physics principles they have learned to build a working musical instrument. Rarely does Mary Lee stand at the board and deliver a long lecture--she would always prefer to engage her students in an activity that is hands-on,  and minds-on.

As a Knowles Science Teaching Fellow--a fellowship that supports selected beginning math and science teachers--Mary Lee meets with other fellow several times a year and supports them to pursue professional development opportunities.  Additionally,  Mary Lee works with an education researcher in the state of Washington who often visits and videotapes her class to collect data on how students learn physics in a real-life setting.

Career Facts

Employer Type:

Current Location:
Spokane, WA

Physics Degree:

Educational Information

Mary Lee decided to become a teacher while she was an undergraduate physics major at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo.  She continued her training at Cal Poly with an on-campus Teacher-in-Residence who was hired as part PhysTEC,  which is a project that works with selected universities to help them improve their physics teacher preparation programs.

More about Mary Lee McJimsey

Direct link to Mary Lee McJimsey's profile:

Mary Lee McJimsey


Mary Lee decided to become a teacher while she was an undergraduate Physics major at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. She was doing physics research at the time,  and found that "every day I came in and did exactly the same thing."  Mary Lee found herself inspired to pursue a career in teaching--a goal with which she entered college.

"Why do I love teaching?" says Mary Lee. "For one,  I understand how much this job is doing to change my community. I can help a student choose to go to college,  and maybe even become one of the next engineers or physicists who's going to change the world. Also,  every single day is different. I see 130 kids in my classroom every day,  and probably double that in the halls. I see many teachers,  every day,  who come to me to have me help them solve a problem; every day is different. I plan,  but I never know what to expect."