Just Who Is Mr. Stevens
I attended Barstow as a student in the 80's and 90's. My time here as a student influenced my dream to return as a teacher.
I can still remember the crisp autumn air and sound of cheering as our soccer team raced down the field. Oh yes, and a winter storm that had our select chorus stuck in southern Vermont overnight. Who could forget the fantastic barbecue lunches in the courtyard? The school has changed a lot since my days here as a student. The physical appearance as well as what goes on in the classrooms has evolved, but much of what made my experience so memorable still exists.
I am top left and am still best friends with the guy diagonally from me.
The Teacher and a Little More
Perhaps one of the most difficult transitions from student to teacher when I first arrived was the surname. If you don't know what I'm talking about try calling a childhood teacher or parent of a friend by their first name. It's no easy transition, yet a wonderful one to make. As I got to know my former teachers as colleagues and friends, I came to know that the wonderful teachers that I experienced growing up are just as wonderful outside of school. We've kayaked together, hiked, chatted, the list goes on. Although many have retired since I began teaching here, a few remain and I am grateful to work with them.
The time flies by as many of you know, or as many of you will find out. My career at Barstow began as a long term substitute teacher in second grade. The following year I was fortunate enough to begin my vocation here and became a third grade teacher.
Third grade is a fascinating age to teach, and as I taught memories of Mrs. Arthur and Mr. Keefe flooded my mind: multiplication tables projected on the wall, the tack system, and a field trip to Fort Ticonderoga were just a few.
I learned a lot in my first few years as a young teacher. One of the hardest lessons was learning that I didn't know all there was to know about teaching. Sometimes you come fresh out of college or university a touch too prideful when you enter the workforce with veterans. Our young people have much to learn from those that have wisdom in our chosen vocations.
A Taste of upper elementary
After three years as a third grade teacher, I jumped up to the fifth grade. I cannot tell you in words what it was like to return on the Cape Cod field trip, not as a boy, but as a teacher.
I was quite happy that as an adult I didn't have to worry about listening to the girls sing Madonna songs all the way down and back. Might as well mention my wardrobe no longer includes Hammer pants. Fifth grade was enlightening, and I thoroughly enjoyed the learning about our ecosystems, participating in rich literature discussions, and the humor of a fifth grade student.
Not too long after the transition to fifth, I made the move to fourth grade which is where I reside now. Yet again, nostalgia returned. I recalled Ms. Greenwood's room and the windows that looked out to the courtyard. I recalled reports about states, Calvin Coolidge, and the old wooden desks with swivel chairs that were attached. Now that door opens to a locker room, and where the courtyard would have been, a gymnasium stands. I look forward to my years as a fourth grade teacher. I hope that I will be able to create a similar experience for the students in which I am fortunate enough to cross paths. Perhaps one day, more alumni will return to Barstow to pursue a teaching career.
"What?! He Doesn't Live There?"
I'm guilty of the thought too. When I was a student and I saw one of my teachers outside of school, I thought to myself, "What are they doing out of school? Don't they like their home?" Honestly it never occurred to me that my teachers had a life outside of school. I remember working as a para educator before college and seeing a teacher throw her hands up in the air and exclaim, "Yes!" as students left on the bus for Thanksgiving break. "Odd," I thought. "What's she so excited about?" Well here's the deal. Teachers do have lives outside of school! We take part in many fun events and activities after the bell rings.
I know... You're thinking, yeah right. If that's your thought then you've come to the right place. Below are just a few of the events and activities that I take part in during my free time. I wonder what we may have in common?
Angela and I love camping in the Adirondacks. This was the maiden voyage of our roof top tent. Using the timer was a lot of laughs
When the snow flies you may find me snowshoeing in the woods or taking tele turns down a mountain.
Rock climbing at the Falls of Lana in Salisbury, Vermont. I've also climbed at Deer Leap and once in the Adirondacks.
Kayaking on the Chittenden Reservoir. I've also kayaked a part of the Otter Creek.
My first time running a Spartan race. We had a Barstow middle school team. What great fun!
Perhaps we'll see each other while exploring the great outdoors. I'm always up for taking a turn down the hill, or a paddle around the corner with students and their families! To sum it up, there's a lot of joy out there to be had and shared. I hope that I can share in some of that joy with our Barstow community. I look forward to seeing you out there!