Teacher of the Month: Jonathan Lee

By Rachel Mattison, Online Editor-in-Chief

His outfit of a cap, green shirt and basketball shorts is instantly recognizable. His room is consistently buzzing at lunch. His students appreciate his patience. His passion for WCHS with the colleagues, events and learning it holds is evident. His name is Mr. Jonathan Lee and he teaches chemistry and AP Physics 1 at WCHS.

When Mr. Lee was a student himself he didn’t expect to end up working as a high school science teacher. He did have a passion for STEM though and pursued classes in those fields because they interested him. AP Biology and AP Chemistry were two of his favorite classes he took — not only because of the content but also because of his teachers. It is their teaching that inspires him to be the best teacher he can be for his own students.

“Those two teachers brought a lot of humor, knowledge and expertise into the classroom each day,” Lee said. “Most of all, they brought their own selves—they were genuine and didn’t change who they were just because they were at work. I strive every day to be real to my students, just as they were to me.”

The realness he brings to teaching shines through to his students. He sets a more informal tone compared to many other rigid science classes which fosters an environment of collaboration, experimentation and ease of asking for help. 

“AP Physics is a difficult class that builds off of itself so it is really important that a person fully understands what is going on,” WCHS sophomore Annalise Mcintrye said. “Mr. Lee is extremely approachable to ask for help which lets his students be successful. He is patient in reteaching concepts until a student knows what they are doing and always is helping students during his own lunchtime so that they can be confident.”

At lunch his classroom contains students who have questions about course concepts, as well as  ones who just want to chat with him. The realness he brings to teaching has paid off as he has well-rounded relationships with his students — he not only asks them about assignments but also knows about their extracurriculars, and they enjoy being able to talk with him. 

“I appreciate how his class is not strictly just about physics, but is a place I enjoy going to to learn,” WCHS junior Jacob Lorenz said. “I feel like he knows me more than my other teachers and I know about him too. For example, he really likes playing video games to unwind. It isn’t all just chatting though, I have learned a ton in his class.”

A great teacher now, his path to get to WCHS was non-traditional. After high school he attended college at MIT. To the displeasure of his parents, he decided that MIT was not where he wanted to be and left school to join the Army. He went overseas as a part of the special operations unit and gained valuable experience and knowledge that guided him to his current career path.

“My time spent abroad taught me the value of teamwork, showed me how to truly appreciate social interaction, and inspired me to want to continue working as a public servant,” Lee said. “I also learned that it is ok to change your path and keep adapting. You learn from every experience you have.”

When he came back from service he finished his undergraduate education at the University of Maryland and then got a master’s degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He started teaching in 2013 in the Baltimore County Public School system before coming to WCHS in 2016.

At WCHS he not only teaches chemistry and physics but is involved in other ways such as serving as a sponsor for Science Olympiad, Chemathon and the Class of 2023 SGA.

“As our class sponsor Mr. Lee really supports us in getting events put together and handing the details for SGA initiatives,” WCHS junior and SGA secretary Kaki Hubeny said. “He works really hard to make sure that every student at the school is enjoying being a student and has opportunities for fun.”

The relaxed nature of Mr. Lee creates a comfortable environment where students feel supported and curious. They look forward to going to class and are able to thrive in rigorous science courses due to his hard work and patient teaching. As a member of the WCHS community, Mr. Lee has left his mark on all of his students and all others due to his passion and care.