Mr. Terry’s Last Year of Teaching at Hills


Mr.Terry and his Model UN Club

By Juliana Lee, Senior Editor

Walking into Room 155, you are immediately greeted and met with a welcoming smile by Mr.Terry.

Mr. Terry as a teacher has made a profound impact on his students by not only creating a welcoming environment, but also a space where students can grow intellectually and become equipped with critical reading skills.

Since coming to Wayne Hills in 2017, he has gained quite a repertoire by teaching students in all grades in U.S. History I, AP U.S. History, Human Rights, World History, and Contemporary Issues.

Manuela Gonzalez, a senior and student of Terry for two years, expresses the bittersweetness that came with this news: “It’s upsetting to see a teacher so passionate about what he does leave, but I know that he’s moving onto bigger and better things.”

Aside from within the classroom, Mr. Terry was also the advisor to the Model United Nations Club. Sophia Kim, a junior and an active member of the club, explains the impact he made on the club: “He was super dedicated and always worked hard to make this club a great experience for all members. He constantly encouraged students and took extra time out of his already busy days to help us. Our whole club will miss him a lot!”

The effort he puts into teaching his students is clearly seen by having thoughtful and open discussions, offering many resources such as interesting articles or national news related to discussions in class, and giving considerate feedback to his students.

Below is an interview with Mr. Terry regarding future plans and some reflections. 

What was your journey to the teaching/education field?

“So I actually had an undergraduate in history, I worked for a few years, and then I decided to go back to school to get a masters in teaching in January of 2011. That was a two-year program at Montclair State University, but while I was there, I student-taught in 8th-grade social studies which was a lot of fun. So I guess in 2012 would be when I started teaching and then in 2013, I was offered a full-time job in Jefferson Township highschool. I then came here to Hills in 2017.”

What is your favorite part of teaching?

“I knew when I finished my college degree, I didn’t really want to be a historian and just spend time in an archive or a library doing research. I think there is a lot of great work that can be done in academia, but I wanted to do something that felt a little more active and had an impact on the present day. And I really learned this more when I started my teaching degree program, but I realized that there are so many ways in which we can work with young people to help them become critical thinkers, problem solvers, and just engage in the world that we’re living in. Basically teach them on how to make a world a better place, and to me that’s what social studies is all about. And that [program] was really inspiring for me and I got to work with a professor at MSU as a graduate assistant, and she was doing all of that work for kids who were doing research on problems in their schools and communities and so now that they’ve done this research, they asked how they can bring about positive change. I think that is the ultimate experience that we want young people to have in their social studies classes and programs.”

What are your plans for your future? 

“I am going to be a K-12 social studies supervisor in Bernards Township, New Jersey located in Baskin Ridge. And the job there will be to oversee instruction and curriculum in social studies from K-12.”

What do you look forward to in this job and do you have any goals? 

“I am very excited about my new job, but it’s bittersweet because I am leaving in the middle of the school year. I care deeply about the Human Rights course and Model UN Program, so that has made the transition a little difficult, especially since I’m starting this Monday [laughter]. Reality is setting in too [laughter]. But, I am genuinely excited to take some of what I have experienced as a teacher and apply that to my new job. Frankly, teaching social studies is not an easy job, and I think social studies teachers need a good advocate to get them resources that they need to be better teachers. I think teachers certainly put their best effort in, but sometimes we are resource-starved and don’t have enough time or curriculum materials. In my new job, I want to help channel those resources to teachers so they can be their best possible self in the classroom and help young people to be actively engaged citizens.”

Will you ever move on from the education field like working at NGOs such as ACLU? 

“Oh, good question. Well, I got into education because I wanted to be an agent of change and it wasn’t necessarily about being a classroom teacher so much as it was how do I make an impact. So for me it was like whatever that thing is where I can make an impact, it was education. That really is the place where I want to be at and where I want to be in the foreseeable future. If something comes up down the road and it makes sense for me to follow the non-profit organization, then I will consider it. However, I do see my role primarily as K-12 education.”

What will you miss most at Hills?

“Too much. Probably the Human Rights elective class, the Model UN club, philosophical conversations with some colleagues of mine, and to give you folks a lot of credit here, you as students are very actively involved and aware young people. When I was a teenager, I was not nearly as aware as my students are, so it is really inspiring to get to work with young people at Hills. It creates this great feedback loop where if my students are excited about something, then I get excited about that too and I ask myself how can I channel that excitement and do some great work together.”

Although Mr. Terry will not be joining us for the rest of the year, the Wayne Hills student body is grateful to have known him. We will miss you Mr. Terry and good luck with your future endeavors!