My name is Steven and I have been teaching Spanish and German at Pattonville High School for 8 years.
Before I became a teacher, I knew I was passionate about new languages and cultures. I thought that college would help me develop my knowledge of these topics and that my passion for the subject would naturally lend itself to the skills of teaching. I spent the first few years of my teaching career learning that while content knowledge matters, that’s not at all what teaching is about. Despite what my college education taught me about adolescent development, educational psychology, learning theories, and pedagogy I was ill-prepared to take on the real challenges in the classroom. While all of these topics underpin the “science’ behind teaching, the best educators know that what happens in the classroom everyday is a mix of this science with their own brand of artistry.
That’s where this blog comes in. I learned that to be good at this job means practicing what I ask my students to do–to learn, to grow, to challenge myself and my beliefs, to try new things, to stretch my thinking, and to fail. It’s a matter of reflecting on my practice in order to improve and serve my students even better.
Because really, that’s what teaching is all about–the students. Not the content. Not the other teachers. Nor the administrators. And not the parents. Classrooms are living and breathing spaces filled with unique individuals and the only way to be any good at helping them learn and grow is by taking the time to get to know them as people. Their wants, their needs, their joys, their fears, and what excites them most in life.
Before I became a teacher, it was my passion for languages and cultures that led me to the job. But now, after being a teacher for many years, I do this job but I am most passionate about students and learning. This shift has completely changed who I am as an individual and as a teacher. I love what I do because learning the art of teaching is a never-ending process.