Brooke Pan (V)

The Upper School Mathematics Department welcomes Mr. Zhaojun Yong, who will be teaching both Honors Geometry and Advanced Algebra and Geometry. Besides teaching, he will also be coaching the boys’ freshman basketball team and advising a club in the middle school.

Mr. Yong is no stranger to New Jersey. Having grown up near Rutgers, he is familiar with the Basking Ridge area. In his free time, he enjoys playing sports, mainly tennis and basketball. “Sports, as well as running in general, are great ways to get my mind off of school and academics,” he said. Mr. Yong is especially drawn to playing basketball, having been a member of his high school basketball team. This experience played a large role in his inclination to coach basketball at Pingry. “I’ve always loved playing basketball,” Mr. Yong said. “Especially now that some of my students are also involved with the team, it creates another dimension towards them in terms of understanding who they are.” Mr. Yong praises basketball for its ability to “allow kids to interact in a manner different from class settings.” With the season approaching, he is looking forward to coaching the team.

Prior to coming to Pingry, Mr. Yong attended college at NYU, where he majored in mathematics. He recently finished graduate school at Columbia University. There, he furthered his schooling in mathematics, earning his master’s degree in Mathematics Education. 

During his time at college, he often served as an informal tutor for his fellow peers; he helped them whenever they had difficulty with math-related problems. This informal service soon unveiled Mr. Yong’s passion for teaching and paved the way for his future career.

Mr. Yong started his educational career by working as a substitute teacher. “The desire to want to help students and help others” was his main motivation for teaching. In the past, he knew that many of his peers saw math as too difficult, and they would, therefore, shy away from the subject. In hopes of changing these perceptions, Mr. Yong strives to create an atmosphere in his classes where “students do not feel discouraged,” and rather feel open and “accepting towards new challenges.” 

At Pingry, Mr. Yong aspires to “help more high schoolers to not feel so intimidated by math.” He plans to achieve this by “helping prepare [students] as best as I can, in terms of what I know and what I can do.” Good luck, Mr. Yong!