Accessible, Student-Centered Instruction

“I really enjoyed this course. I was so scared for physics last year because I did very bad in chemistry… but your teaching is very easy to understand. This was one of my favorite classes this year.” -High School Physics Student, 2015

“I really learned a lot this year. I have learning disabilities, but you found ways to explain and demonstrate the concepts in a way that I could understand and grasp.” -High School Physics Student, 2015

“I was never really a science or a math person but this class inspired me to reevaluate my viewpoint. You were the nicest teacher I’ve ever had.” -High School Physics Student, 2015

“I enjoy coming to class everyday because Mr. Callahan makes it his goal to make sure everyone understands the material and succeeds in his class. I feel comfortable asking questions whenever I have them. I now LIKE physics!!” -High School Physics Student, 2015

“I think that physics was not as challenging that it could have been because of Mr. Callahan. Everything we learned was well explained and I understood it. Mr. Callahan is the best teacher I have had because he respects his students and gives them trust. I feel if I had a different teacher I would not have been successful.” -High School Physics Student, 2015

“James makes sure every member of the [discussion] section understands materials even if they don’t want to speak up about it by walking around, checking our paper, and always asking for questions. I feel very comfortable asking questions, which I definitely don’t feel in all my classes.” -College Organic Chemistry Student, 2016

“His weekly emails helped me stay focused and organized so I wouldn’t fall behind.” -College Organic Chemistry Student, 2016

“I think James does a great job [with the Friday reviews]. He’s very clear in his explanations and I like that he occasionally brings a different perspective than [the other instructor] on problem-solving.” -College Organic Chemistry Student, 2016

Support of Holistic Student Growth

“I was really nervous going into physics this year. I was worried that I would not do well. However, you made this class fun, interesting, and easy to understand. I honestly think you are one of the best teachers I have had… and I can’t think of anything you could do better. You are always there for help, and in class you explain things until every person understands. We can tell you really care about us as people and students.” -High School Physics Student, 2015

“It is clear that Mr. Callahan structures his class in a way to challenge students. Mr. Callahan also does a great job of creating a weekly email that he sends out to the community… about what is happening in his class and assignments due. The developed lesson plan clearly states the standards for student work.” -High School Assistant Principal after a teaching observation, 2016

“James is a incredible human being. Besides the fact that he is brilliant in both physics and chemistry, he makes [discussion] section a lot of fun. He utilizes an array of teaching strategies to help us learn the material. He also provides great encouragement to us when the material seems difficult. All around, amazing [instructor].” -College Organic Chemistry Student, 2016

“James is definitely the best Teaching Fellow I have had at Harvard. This semester, he went above and beyond the requirements for his position. He not only facilitated great discussion in section and was a phenomenal teacher, but he sent weekly positive emails, which were really helpful, especially during exam time.” -College Organic Chemistry Student, 2016

“James is very organized and prepared. The e-mails he sent out every week are extremely helpful. My lab reports have also improved a lot because of him.” -College General Chemistry Student, 2018

Active Student Participation in Learning Process

“Mr. Callahan, you are by far the best teacher I have had in high school or middle school. You explain concepts well and do constructive and interesting activities.” -High School Physics Student, 2015

“James made fun random group activities that encouraged us to collaborate with out classmates on how to solve problems. It was a really great way to meet my classmates and engage with the course material.” -College Organic Chemistry Student, 2016

“James was a great section leader, and gave us useful tips to help us grasp the material better. I especially appreciated the group activities we did, as well as the breadth of practice problems we went over.” -College Organic Chemistry Student, 2016

“James was a very helpful and knowledgeable Teaching Fellow that made section engaging and fun. I really liked being able to work problems in small groups and present/explain them to the larger group. I also appreciated his perceptiveness towards his students after a hard exam and willingness to speak to his own experiences to encourage us.” -College Organic Chemistry Student, 2016

“James is effective at providing space for students to ask questions, providing a road map for material that will be covered in section, and visually demonstrating course and lab material in section. Furthermore, James’ awareness of class discussion dynamics and his desire think creatively through ways to encourage active student engagement and comprehension are inspiring.” -Consultant after a teaching observation at the University of Chicago, 2018

Clear, Meaningful Learning Objectives

“Fantastic year, I learned a lot and although I do not plan to pursue physics any further, I have a better understanding of the world around me and how/why things work. I never felt unprepared for a test or quiz because we always reviewed the material thoroughly in class.” -High School Physics Student, 2015

“I LOVED the class. Because science and math are not my favorite subjects, and I’ve always been stronger in other subjects, and I’ve heard real horror stories about physics, I was nervous for the class but you made it so easy without making the class a joke! I learned a lot and have come to appreciate physics and science more.” -High School Physics Student, 2015

“I think you are an excellent teacher and I am very grateful to have had you this year! I was dreading physics because of the math, but you made it easy to understand. You also emphasized the real world impact of what we were learning every unit, which is important to my understanding of concepts.” -High School Physics Student, 2016

“This physics class was the most organized and well-run class I have ever taken in high school. All classes should be taught in this format, with organized notes, homeworks, and quizzes. Really impeccable work, Mr. Callahan. Physics helped me think logically, and while I may not want to be a physicist when I grow up, the logical thinking offered in physics problems is helpful is many other facets in life.” -High School Physics Student, 2016

Continual Reflection and Improvement of Instruction

“Most motivated, dedicated, and hard working teacher I have ever had. Always evolving his teaching methods and providing the students with ways to relate to the content. Also had a great sense of humor and a good fun side that he let slip once in a while. So glad to have had him as a teacher.” -High School Physics Student, 2015

“Extremely active and involved in the class. Seems to genuinely care about his role as a teacher. Also takes advice from any student, teacher or parent at anytime and works very hard to make sure everyone excels in this course.” -High School Physics Student, 2015

“James- You did an excellent job in applying the UBD unit framework to the science curriculum. This will be very helpful in moving this process forward at the high school.” -Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum about my summer curriculum work, 2015

“You can tell he incorporates feedback.” -College Organic Chemistry Student, 2016

“James constantly strives to improve teaching methods, genuinely cares about students, makes concepts easy to understand.” -College General Chemistry Student, 2018

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