New Teacher Feature: Mr. Lam

Jose Gama, Staff Writer

With the retirement of teacher Mr. Bill Chapman, the engineering department of Arcadia High School (AHS) has found a new teacher to lead the engineering class Mr. Jon P. Lam is one of our new staff members this year, and he has a very interesting story of how he became a teacher.

“I was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, but moved to a suburb of Dallas for my parents’ work; I was brought up to be very family oriented, and grew up traveling to Asia with them,” stated Mr. Lam. “The school I went to was religious, and I was the only Asian kid in my entire class, so I grew closer to my family than I did my friends.” 

After graduating, he headed off to Duke University to study engineering. During his time at college, he took an interest in music and decided to join the Duke University Marching Band. After graduating from college, Mr. Lam moved to Northern California about 21 years ago when he landed a job in the area as a software engineer at Cisco Systems. Eventually, Mr. Lam came to Southern California, as some of his family members were living here. 

Mr. Lam decided to switch careers a couple of years ago, stating that, “I was in Texas between 2015-2016 working for Hewlett Packard (HP) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), and came to the conclusion that the engineering industry wasn’t for me. So then I started my teaching career as a math teacher in 2017, but I chose to take a slight departure from conventional teaching, and due to my background in engineering I was able to obtain my Career Technical Education (CTE) credential, which brings me to where I am now.”

He then went on to talk about his experience so far with AHS, as well as his style of teaching. 

“So far at this school I’ve noticed that this is a very serious and devoted place, with knowledgeable students that are dedicated,” said Mr. Lam.

When asked about his style of teaching, Mr. Lam stated, “I tend to do a lot of project-based teaching, as I feel it lets them explore and pursue some of their interests. I also think it’s better than having them [students] sit through a lecture, like I did during my education. Having the students help and work with each other and be inspired is something that I am honored to do as the engineering instructor here at AHS.”

Mr. Lam emphasizes being honored to inherit the responsibility of teaching and preparing students in the engineering program for a career in the field and hopes to continue the legacy of former teacher Mr. Chapman. 

Photo courtesy of Jon Lam