Retiree Blauner loves that physics helps her figure out ‘just about anything’

Science teacher Patty BlaunerPhoto: Patty Blauner

After 19 fantastic years working at ARHS, long time physics teacher Patty Blauner is ready to retire.

Ms. Blauner attended high school just outside of Philadelphia. She then went on to do her undergraduate at Dartmouth, graduate work at Yale, and finally her post-graduate work at MIT.

Teaching was Blauner’s second career. Before becoming a teacher, she was a research physicist, who spent time working in labs. “I decided to leave because the company I was working for was doing less in hardware research which is what my job was,” she said.

Blauner and her husband decided to move to the valley, and it was here she discovered her love of teaching. 

“I think there is a point in your life where you should do something completely different from what you are used to,” Blauner said. “[While teaching] I found it empowering to help people understand how the physical world works.”

Blauner was also inspired by her high school physics teacher. “He had a 360 degree way of explaining things,” she said, “and although it didn’t come easy, he got me into physics.” 

Blauner noted that her love of physics comes from being able to figure out “just about anything” by using a few principles. She gained a lot of practical skills and learned she liked to fix things. 

Creating the Sound, Light, and Color course for the high school is one of Blauner’s highlights from her time at ARHS. “I wanted to put a course together for kids who didn’t love math but still wanted to learn about physics,” Blauner said. “I got to meet a lot of different students that I normally would not have met.”  

Once retired, Blauner plans to travel as much as she can. 

“My husband retired a year ago and we have a lot of catching up with our hobbies to do,” she said. 

Blauner noted that she is looking forward to doing more gardening and “working on the small railroad” that goes through her garden. Blauner is also excited to catch up with friends. 

Not having to struggle through remote teaching is another thing Blauner is looking forward to during retirement. “I am excited for there to be less structure in my life,” she said, “I’ll get to spend more time with my husband and my dog.” 

Although she is excited about being retired, Blauner noted that she will miss her colleagues and having lunch with them every day but she won’t miss grading or “senior springs.” 

Blauner will also miss getting to know students. “I will totally miss having routine contact with a multigenerational group and having conversations with seniors about their future,” she said.