Physics teacher brings interesting perspective to class

Shane+smiles+at+his+desk.

Joe Earl

Shane smiles at his desk.

Joe Earl, Reporter

When physics teacher Jeff Shane attended Mogadore High School, he dreaded walking into his physics class, even preferring chemistry. Now, thirty years later, Shane excites students in his physics classes through his hands-on learning, friendly approach to teaching in the classroom and great sense of humor.

The entire science department and students benefit from Shane’s experience. His ability to teach both concisely and in an interesting manner makes for a relaxed, but efficient work environment for his physics’ students preparing for the AP test in May. 

Shane graduated from Ohio Northern University with an electrical engineering degree after his peers recommended the major due to the versatility it provided at the time. Despite never having touched a computer, Shane decided to pursue the degree, trusting in his quality as both a mathematician and scientist. Shane further described his years of pursuing his electrical engineering degree. 

“I went and did that. I didn’t enjoy it, but I had a free ride. So I finished school and tried a couple of different jobs. [I] didn’t really enjoy it. I was kind of bored,” Shane said. 

Shane took a job in Mansfield, Ohio, but a year later the company’s competitor offered Shane a job in Providence, Rhode Island. Shane stayed in Providence for around eight months but found no enjoyment in his work. After his dissatisfaction in the engineering field, Shane joined a one year program at Kent State where he received his teaching certificate, completed his student teaching, and earned his masters degree. 

Shane had always wanted to become a teacher, but his mother wanted him to become an engineer. Shane’s friend was interviewing for a role as a chemistry teacher at Revere, and while he was there, he found out that the physics teacher had just quit, so he informed Shane, and Shane came in the next day. Shane explained how he got his first teaching job at Revere. 

“I came in and said, ‘hey, do you need a teacher?’ and they hired me that day… literally I walked in the door, taught for fifteen minutes. They said, ‘you want the job?’ I said sure. I didn’t know anything about Revere,” Shane said.  

When Shane arrived on his first day, he had never taught any of the AP Physics curriculum, which, at the time, was a single class rather than a split AP Physics I and II. Shane went into detail as to how he survived his first year at Revere. 

“[I would learn the content the] night before, midnight, or at one in the morning. I was going through stuff figuring it out. That first year was very rough,” Shane said.

Shane found abstract concepts, particularly voltage, difficult to teach during his initial years at Revere. Since then, Shane has taught thirty more years of physics and takes different approaches than he would have taken at the start of his career. Shane elaborated on how his teaching has changed over the years. 

“[I am] much more receptive to the idea that grades are not as concrete as you think. I do tons of retest[s] now and re-quizzing, and I never did that my first fifteen to twenty years.” Shane said. 

Shane believes that this approach benefits both the students and himself, creating a stress free environment where learning takes priority over everything else. Shane has taught AP Physics, Physics, Honors Physics, Physical Science, and Algebra 1. No matter what he teaches, his interest in the subject seems to carry little weight since his interest in teaching itself far exceeds the importance of the topic at hand. Shane loved teaching when he first came to Revere, and nothing has changed. Shane described why he loves teaching, and how variety keeps him entertained throughout the day. 

“Kids. I love the kids. Every day. Every class is different. I mean, I teach the same thing four times. And if you watch the physics I [classes], and they’re all four different classes, [so] it’s not boring,” Shane said.

Joshua Schaefer, Shane’s coworker for the past six years and fellow physics teacher, talks with Shane on a near-daily basis about physics. He described Shane’s qualities as a teacher and a coworker. 

“He cares about kids. He cares about what is good for the learning of students. He’s not just about doing what he has to do but what is best for kids. He has a pretty good sense of humor about him too… Since the day I got here he has helped me out with physics,” Schaefer said. 

Luke Furukawa, one of Mr. Shane’s students, took AP Physics I his junior year, and he is now taking AP Physics II. He explained what characteristics of Mr. Shane’s teaching and class made him come back for a second year. 

“During my first year, I really enjoyed Mr. Shane’s personality and teaching style, so it felt like a natural progression to take physics II. He also has tons of worldly knowledge that he shares with us beyond the physics curriculum,” Furukawa said. 

This is the second year that Shane is teaching AP Physics I and II separately all the way through (not interrupted by COVID). Shane detailed how, even though the material has stayed the same, the teaching in the classes has changed since the switch from trimesters to semesters. 

“Sometimes I want to say things in a class [AP Physics II], and [I think], I can’t say that. They don’t know that yet, because they haven’t had the other class. So that’s a little different,” Shane said. 

Shane enjoys staying active out of school, when not seeing family and doing yard work, Shane occupies himself playing pickleball, his relatively new interest. 

“I started pre-COVID. About four or five years ago, I fell in love with it after the first ten minutes I played, and I just think it’s fun,” Shane said.

Shane has also played tennis and ping pong, enjoying racquet sports, but he finds the most enjoyment out of pickleball, attempting to play at least once a week. Shane particularly likes that pickleball allows for involvement no matter the skill of the player, but appreciates that in order to perform well, one still needs to put forth plenty of effort. 

Shane spends his summers taking a short break from physics. He particularly enjoys reading over the summer months, reading around twelve to fifteen books during the three month span. 

“I’ve read a bunch of different science fiction series over the years. James Patterson writes those murder mystery [books]; there’re fun. I don’t like romantic [books], just murder mysteries, things where you ‘find who done it…’ [I don’t read books about physics],” Shane said.

Shane has three daughters, a wife, and a black labrador that Shane describes as ‘old and fat.’ Shane enjoys his job and appreciates the kids keeping him young, enjoying teaching concepts students particularly struggle grasping.