THHS welcomes alum Michael Quach back as a new physics teacher

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Michael Quach, a Townsend Harris alumnus, joined the Science Department faculty this school year as a Physics teacher.

Mr. Quach completed his studies at NYU in May 2022, where he majored in physics and education. His teachers at THHS inspired him to become a teacher himself. “I told myself that I would try my best to help students the way that my teachers helped me and make sure they never felt uncared for or unappreciated,” he said.

THHS physics teacher David Stern first met Mr. Quach in 2016 when he was a student in his Band 7 Physics class. He described Mr. Quach as “patient, kind, and reflective.” 

Despite not being very fond of math, physics piqued his interest because it gave context to the math he was working with, allowing him to be able to explain the way his surroundings worked. As a student, “[Mr. Quach] would often ask questions that drove class discussion forward and was eager to test out his ideas, even when he wasn’t confident in his work, which is why he was so successful in physics,” said Mr. Stern. In hopes of bringing that same mindset to his students, Mr. Quach said, “I’m excited to create new things and demonstrations to bring [student] ideas, passions, and interests into what we do in class.”

When asked about his goals for the school year, Mr. Quach said, “[My goals are] for all students to come into class each day excited to be there and not ever anxious or scared to come to class.” Sophomore Ethan Ben David said, “[Mr. Quach creates] a comfortable and safe [environment] where curiosity, collaboration, and creativity are all welcomed.” Similarly, Sophomore Leona Sahajalal said, “Mr. Quach is hilarious and makes physics fun in ways I didn’t even think were possible. He has the ability to make a classroom light up with his patience and enthusiasm.” 

According to Mr. Stern, he and Mr. Quach would catch up while he was at NYU and discuss his career goals. Mr. Quach has aimed to be a physics teacher since his time at THHS. “It feels surreal to be sharing an office with him, but it also feels right,” said Mr. Stern.   

Outside of the classroom, Mr. Quach dedicates his time to both leisurely and humanitarian projects. “My friends [and I] will usually make care packages for homeless people and deliver them around the city. In the future I really want to open a café and restaurant so I try to improve my cooking any chance I get,” said Mr. Quach. S!NG and FON are some of his most anticipated events to experience as a new teacher.

As for advice for Mr. Quach, Mr. Stern said, “Don’t be afraid of trying out new ideas. You won’t grow if you don’t try things out and find what works for you and your students.”

Photo by Chayti Biswas