Welcome to Mr. Hefele's Homepage
Hi and welcome to my classroom! My name is Thomas Hefele and I teach physics and pre-calculus here at Combs High School! I come from the great state of Virginia, where I studied at the University of Virginia (UVa - Go Hoos!). At UVa, I earned undergraduate degrees in physics and mathematics, along with a master's in teaching, learning more about the beautiful and amazing mathematical and physical structures that underlie our world. Within these fields, my favorite topics of study are mathematical physics, differential geometry, group theory, field theories, general relativity, and theoretical workings in string theory. As can be seen, I am highly passionate about these fields, so don't hesitate to ask me about a topic that interests you!
Outside of the classroom, I love hiking and outdoors activities, playing basketball and soccer, Spanish-language literature, and attending my students' events. My students are my #1 priority.
I am looking forward to bringing this passion to the classroom, helping students to live as physicists, discover how our world works, and critically analyze new and fascinating physical phenomena. In order to accomplish these goals, I rely on a classroom philosophy that encourages risk-taking, critical thinking, and student ownership via laboratory inquiries and project-based learning. I am a firm believer that when students are motivated, challenged, and in charge of their learning, their education benefits much more than if I were to lecture to them. In order to create a classroom conducive to such a philosophy, I aim to create a classroom environment that responds to student needs, incorporates student interests, and fosters collaboration and a willingness to make mistakes.
Why collaboration and mistakes? Well, physics and mathematics is a collaborative effort and one that requires a willingness to err. Rome wasn't built in a day, and Einstein sure didn't come up with relativity on his own and in one day. The following quote by Michael Jordan puts it quite succintly:
With regards to administrative aspects, below I have provided links for students and parents alike: