The Sagamore | John Magee

John Magee is a 10th grade high school chemistry teacher. Prior to his teaching career, Magee was a part-time software developer and musician. In his spare time, Magee enjoys writing original songs that have been played on SiriusXM radio, which can be found on YouTube music or Spotify (see below). Magee enjoys cycling, surfing and has recently taken up snowboarding.

How did you find BHS?

I have lived in Brookline for ten years. My children have been attending Brookline schools since kindergarten. I have a daughter who is in eighth grade at Lincoln and my son who is in first grade here in high school.

How did you decide what to teach?

My situation is quite unique because I have worked in business. I created two technology companies. I’ve always been a software developer and my interest has always been in science. I knew I wanted to teach high school at some point in my life, so I quit my other job to try to figure out how to become a teacher. I took some time off, then I applied to be a substitute teacher [at the high school] thinking that would be a good way to start.

Why did you decide to teach 10th grade?

When I was hired I was told they were looking for a position in biology or chemistry, and I’m pretty good at chemistry. Because my son is a junior, he’s taking biology classes, so I knew I wouldn’t want to be confused with him and his friends. Everything went very well.

What do you think inspired you to get into teaching rather than technology?

I have always liked to learn. I always try to learn new things. I enjoy bonding with children, especially high school students. Some of my favorite learnings were in high school more than college. I have worked with teenagers in other jobs. When I was very young, I did camp counselor jobs and I always loved it. I really feel comfortable explaining things to children and teaching them broader things about life.

Do you have any fun hobbies?

I have many hobbies, but music is my biggest. I am a musician; I started as a pianist but I play everything: guitar, bass and drums. I’ve always written songs and played stuff on Sirius XM radio. I’ve released a few albums that have also been pretty well rated. I had a band in the 2000s called Scrimshanders, who recently released a “best of” retrospective titled “Songs That Never Were”. I’m still active in music, playing with neighbors at block parties and recording songs that I hope to release soon.

Do you have other hobbies?

I like to exercise. I’m a bike enthusiast, so I ride bikes and build my own bikes. I love cycling everywhere and surfing is my new thing. I’m just tryna learn, so [I’m] not very good but i like it. ]I like]snowboarding too, and I’m much better at snowboarding than at surfing. It’s kind of a curse at some point because you know if you’re skiing all the time it ends up being really expensive.

Is there any advice you can give to students?

I think it’s really important for people to have something they love to do. Sometimes I think there’s a lot of pressure on teenagers to do things that look good on a college application, and I think people don’t always choose the right things for them. The only thing that is right is the right thing for you.