Retiring Teachers: Mr. MacLean

Catherine Chu, News Editor

After teaching at Gunn for nearly ten years, physics teacher Alec MacLean announced his retirement plans. Having worked for almost 30 years in a variety of different industries, MacLean reflects on the differences between the many experiences he’s had in different professions. “The real gratitude and appreciation from students is just so rewarding, and it’s unlike anything else,” he said.

The personal connections with staff and students shaped his time
on campus. When he switched careers to teaching, these relationships
shaped his purpose–to help the students. “I don’t teach because I like
physics, I teach because I love my students,” MacLean said. Foremost, MacLean emphasizes his respect for the Gunn community. “I’ve had a lot of different careers, but I have never worked with such a uniformly high caliber, high-quality group, whether it be the teachers, students, custodial staff, special ed staff or others,” he said. According to MacLean, working with a community full of highly-motivated staff contributed to his memorable time teaching.

MacLean has worked with both engineers who have all been very gung-ho about science and students who don’t choose the advanced science lanes. He hopes his students can depart with an understanding of science. “I hope my students can walk away saying, ‘I can do science and I don’t completely hate it,’” he said. Once his students achieve this, MacLean believes he can walk away feeling accomplished. MacLean also stresses that the ability to learn the essence of patience will help students beyond his class and school, and in their futures.

MacLean plans to spend lots of his time with his family after the shelter-in-place order is over. Additionally, MacLean hopes to spend more time playing his musical instruments and building on his hobbies, such as wood sculpting. “I’d love to have more time to [play instruments and build], and I really want to move someplace where I can have more dogs,” he said.