New Teacher Takes Over Psychology Classes

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By Lizzy Boulos, Staff Writer

Mr. Kubiak is a new teacher at Hills who teaches human behavior and AP psychology. He is replacing Mrs. Hornes who is on maternity leave. Kubiak does not only teach at Hills–in the morning he spends his time across town at Wayne Valley teaching psychology as well.

Mr. Kubiak answered some questions about his career as a teacher.

How long have you been a teacher?

This is my eighth year. My whole career has been in Wayne.

Where were you before this?

I was an IT professional. I worked for a healthcare company, a national one. I went from doctors’ offices to hospitals from place to place, and I fixed their computers as well as interface systems. It was essentially a computer hardware technology-type job. I then went back to school for a second degree, at William Paterson to become a history teacher specifically, but I had a psychology degree already. So that’s why I teach psychology.

What made you interested in psychology?

Actually, I majored in music as a freshman in college. Music education because I did want to be a teacher, but I didn’t want to practice for five hours a day. I also played the tuba, which isn’t the most versatile instrument. I also didn’t have the drive, but I decided to drop out of music school after one semester. So the spring of my freshman year I took psychology, and my professor essentially came up to me and said; “Kyle you don’t know what you want to do, you should consider psychology. You’ve taken to this quite well  and I’ve enjoyed what you’re putting out there in class discussions.” So I was inspired by a professor to major in psych, I minored in music because I already had so many credits, and also in philosophy because I was interested in that. I used the degree as really just a stepping stone as a door to get a job, then I revisited it when I became a teacher.

Do you prefer working at Valley or Hills? 

I can actually answer this for sure, I mean no offense to you either. As a teacher as far as my interactions with students it’s basically identical. I feel a little bit of pressure on myself, to put up a good performance for you guys and do what you need. In some ways more than Valley because I’m less comfortable because it is a new place but it’s not that new that it’s that different. Ultimately things that are blue are maroon here. On the flip side, I will say that I’m very well acquainted with the social studies staff here basically as well as my colleagues at Valley. Valley is kind of my home, I’ve been there for years. I really love my job and it’s been a pleasure to teach more psychology truthfully. It’s honestly invigorating to do this.

What is your favorite class to teach?

I teach world history over at Valley, I teach an honors section and an enriched section. Truthfully it is AP Psychology, that is my bread and butter and that is what fuels me every day.

What are the highlights of your career?

First was actually getting my tenure track job, which was my second year teaching. I started as a long-term replacement for Mrs. Brewer, she is a teacher at one of the middle schools now for history. She was out for a year for her maternity leave, and I filled in for her. But then, Mr. Mignanelli left to become principal of Schuyler Colfax and he was the psychology teacher. I slipped into his position by luck, which was a huge honor to teach something with AP in front of it as a second-year teacher. It felt as though I accomplished something. That’s my big thing, getting the ability or the privilege of teaching this course and having it flourish has been so rewarding.

What do you expect to do at Hills?

I expect to try and be the best AP Psych teacher you guys can have, just like I would at my own school. And I expect to get you prepared for the AP test. I am very focused on that as well as getting to know everybody. You are my students as much as the students in the other building, it’s just the building is different. The feeling is not. I enjoy even the hijinks that go on, that go on in the classroom. They don’t make me angry, they just make me go ‘alright guys’. I’ll throw a little shade at the situation but that’s not my style. Ultimately what I want to do here is make a good impression on you guys but really more so to have you guys be successful in class. That’s really my goal.

Okay, thank you!

Oh, you’re welcome, and thank you!

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