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Pete Peterson, Fairfax High School

Name: Pete Peterson

School: Fairfax High School

Grade/Subject 11/12, Physics/AP Physics

How long have you been a teacher?

This is my seventeenth year teaching (all seventeen years have been at Fairfax High School).

What is your favorite lesson of the year?

That really varies from year to year.  I guess it is whichever one the students are most engaged in.  If I had to nail it down, it would probably be along the lines of when a student asks a really good question that leads into the realm of black holes or quantum mechanics or something else really out there beyond our everyday experience (in other words it is rarely me initiating the best lessons, it is the students).

What do you like most about your school?

The people–students and colleagues alike.  I feel very much at home here, where I get paid to just be myself and enjoy the company I keep.

Why do you like this grade (best thing about this age of students) They are stepping out on their own, tentatively (or in some cases voraciously) exploring ideas beyond the familiar and comfortable.

One tip for parents: Stimulate brains!  Make them think!  Change up routines, discuss ideas you disagree with, do whatever you can to get kids to think in different ways, about different things.  Schools can become very good at getting kids to think about the material in the official curriculum, but there is so much more to life than that!

5 Quick  Q&A

Favorite book? Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely

College/University attended? University of Michigan (both undergraduate and graduate school)

If you could be another profession, what would it be? Professional philosopher (hard to earn a living that way, so I found this!)

Favorite place to travel? Other perspectives

Favorite thing to do on weekends? Spend time with my son

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