An Interview With Mr. Habibi, a Computer Science Teacher

Rocco Biondo, Staff Writer

Mr. Habibi is a wonderful computer science teacher at the Lindenhurst High School, and since I am a student in his 9th grade computer science class, the Charles Street Times have decided to interview him via Email.

How long have you been working in the computer science field?

I started learning to program when I was 10 years old, so it has been 25 years now! Over those years I’ve mostly done programming on my own, but have sometimes worked in the field, mostly while going to college.

If you could pick a different school or different grades to teach, would you? If so, what would you pick?

Honestly I’m very happy right where I am. I love working with high school students, they’re at that level where they are young enough that I can make a real difference for them, but old enough that they can be learning about really cool things!

How long has teaching computer science at school been your career choice?

I’ve been teaching for 9 years, almost all of those years I’ve had at least one computer programming or computer science class. This year is my first where I have a full schedule of only computer science.

What do you like about teaching at Lindenhurst?  

The students! I’ve been in a few different schools but I’ve never been more impressed with the group of students I have this year. You’re all curious, dedicated, and very fun to work with!

Where did you go to college and what did you study or major in?

I went to SUNY Stony Brook and majored in Applied Mathematics and Statistics in my undergraduate years, then got my Masters in Secondary Mathematics Education. So in terms of my college training, I’m basically a math teacher.

If you could change something about how you teach or what you’re allowed to do as a teacher, what would you change?

I’d love to add new courses to the computer science offerings. It’s great to have students learning the basics in an intro class, and the AP courses are great too, but I have interests in other fields, like artificial intelligence, data science, cybersecurity. We might be adding some courses like that down the road!

Do you have any long term or short term goals when you teach students?

My short-term goal working with students is always to help them get further ahead than they otherwise would be. In other words, if I can influence a student to go further than they would have without me, I consider that to be a success. In the long term, I really just want to reach as many students as possible and help them in that same way. So I’m hoping to have more students enrolled in my classes and continue pushing them to their limits!

What hobbies do you have outside of the computer world?

As of a few years ago, I started learning visual art. I do a lot of oil painting and some watercolor painting as well. A hobby I’ve had for much longer than that is working with wood. Nowadays I have a lathe in my basement that I use to make wood bowls, cups, containers, etc.

What plans do you have for the summer?

I greatly enjoy gardening in the summertime. I’m very proud of my yard! I like to forget about the outside world and just kind of “live” in my backyard.

Since computer jobs are so sought after, why did you decide to become a teacher?

This is easily your best question, very well thought-out! As I mentioned earlier, I started learning to program when I was 10 years old, and I did consider as a goal for myself that I’d be a professional in that field. However, when I got to high school, I had some particularly inspiring teachers, specifically in math. That put the idea into my head that I could perhaps influence the world more so by teaching. If I spend my career basically producing well-educated young people who can then go out into the world and have great careers for themselves, I feel like that’s an overall better impact than the work I could do by myself. I’m also extremely happy I made this decision because I really love working with students and am having a great time all day at Lindenhurst!