PHS Profile: Phil Reyes

photo by Aaron Wu

As a young student in high school, Phil Reyes enjoyed mathematics. From solving equations to understanding the theory behind mathematical concepts, Reyes knew that mathematics would be something he would want to have as a permanent part of his life.

After graduating from the The College of New Jersey, Reyes began his teaching career at Highland Park High School, but left to continue at PHS. Currently, he teaches AP Calculus BC, Multivariable Calculus, and Linear Algebra, and marks his tenth year of teaching overall.

Early on in Reyes’s professional life, he found teaching consisted of a lot of trial and error. Reyes finds that his lessons become more and more efficient every year, allowing him to try new things. When he first started out, Reyes did a lot of planning, but was not able to do everything he wanted because he ran out of time. With his increased efficiency, Reyes is able to add or complete more activities.

“Once you get into actual teaching, there’s different obstacles and restraints that make it [difficult] to do all these things,” said Reyes. “What I thought about teaching is completely different than how I feel now. It’s actually going through and teaching each year and seeing what worked and what didn’t work.”

Reyes enjoys interacting with students and believes that it is one of the key aspects of teaching. Even after a decade in the field, he still continues to encounter different types of students and enjoys having unique experiences with them.

Nothing’s the same. With different people comes different interactions. I’m not at the point where everything is boring. I don’t think it will ever get to that point,” Reyes said.

Recently, Reyes had a daughter, whom he spends a lot of time with. But outside of his obligations as a parent, Reyes enjoys video games and is currently playing Defense of the Ancients and Shadow of Mordor.

Reyes appreciates the freedom that PHS offers for teachers and students.

[Students] have a lot of different options in terms of classes and clubs. And I [kind of] have a lot of freedom in the way I want to teach my classes,” Reyes said.

Academically, Reyes believes students should avoid procrastination and take care of themselves, but also feels that students should not stress about the future and enjoy each stage of life.

“In general, don’t worry about stuff. I’m a very easy going person, in general and usually in my teaching, [I’m] pretty laid back, [and] it’s worked for me. Everything works out in the end. Hakuna Matata.”

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