John Maloney: New Teacher with Old Connections

Alumnus, John Maloney returns to Bellarmine as a new hire in the science department.

Mr. Maloney graduated from Bellarmine in 1981 and from Santa Clara University in 1985 with a major in electrical engineering. During his time at Bellarmine, he saw many respected teachers begin their careers.

“Mr. Reyerson taught me calculus and taught my older brother calculus. Mr. Pinkston started when I was here. Mr. Wong started when I was here. Mr. Janda started when I was in school here. Fr. Cobb was here when I started. Fr. Wade was here when I started. Mr. Ruth was a longtime faculty member when I started,” Mr. Maloney said. “Quite a few of them retired last year.”

Mr. Maloney has already settled in as a Physics Nine teacher, general physics teacher, and cross-country coach. In fact, his experiences as the head coach of the cross country team at Santa Clara University heavily influenced his decision to go into teaching.

“For many years, I was a student athlete in cross country and track at both Bellarmine and Santa Clara. I really loved it, and a couple years after I graduated from Santa Clara, I started running with the team after work and never stopped after that,” Mr. Maloney said. “I was asked to volunteer, then asked to be an assistant coach, then interviewed to become the head coach. I was involved with the school for 17 years and it was a great passion of mine, something I relished doing every day. Due to my passion with coaching I thought it would be a really good fit with teaching.”

Mr. Maloney’s return to Bellarmine was a happy accident in that when he started looking for teaching jobs, Bell just happened to be hiring.

“It was a very unusual situation in which I was asked to interview for the Physics Nine position, and gratefully, I was accepted. It worked out well that my calling was to get into teaching, and there just happened to be an opening I was able to fill,” Mr. Maloney said.

Mr. Maloney had many physics teachers that inspired him to become a physics teacher as well.

“Ironically my physics teachers were all Jesuits,” Mr. Maloney said. “It was ironic that my science teachers were Jesuits back in the day, and it also played a lot into who I am today, where I feel very honored to be teaching physics at a Jesuit school.”

Indeed, Mr. Maloney, in conjunction with the other Physics Nine teachers at Bellarmine, have worked extensively to plan their courses.

“We have a huge collaboration effort underway. There are eight teachers involved and 16 sections. Over the spring and summer, there have been developmental sessions and we’ve had multiple collaboration efforts right now,” Mr. Maloney said. “We’d plan to meet weekly to continue our collaboration with experiments and labs.”

Physics Nine aims to introduce freshmen to the concepts of physics rather than the mathematical application, preparing them for more advanced courses as upperclassmen.

“There’s emphasis on concepts and development, where you’re visualizing problems rather than looking at solving problems with math. Having people touch, see, and feel physics rather than trying to visualize it as how it equates on a piece of paper,” Mr. Maloney said. ”The first experiments that we’re going to be doing, and there’s going to be a lot more experiments than in general physics class, will try to get people to visualize how things work rather than understanding all the forces of nature on a piece of paper.”

With renovated Carney labs, new faces on staff, and a completely new class for freshmen, Mr. Maloney hopes to make Physics Nine a meaningful and informative class for all freshmen.

“It’s a new thing to Bellarmine entirely. It’s fairly new to high school education over all,” Mr. Maloney said. “I’m hoping we do the same with it at Bellarmine introducing physics to freshmen and making a positive impression on them with development and conceptual physics.”

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