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    Mr. Stevens-Teacher Spotlight for September, 2017


    Tell us about your family.

    My family is from Peru, IL. My parents still live in Peru with a dog, Nitro, and a cat, Luna. My sister goes to University of Illinois - Springfield.


    What is your educational background?  Please list college(s) and degree(s).

    I went to Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI, and received my undergraduate degree in music education.


    What classes do you currently teach?

    I teach band at the high school; 7th/8th grade band, 6th grade band, and 8th grade music appreciation at the junior high; and 5th grade band at Coffeen and Beckemeyer Elementary Schools.


    How long have you been teaching?

    The 2017 - 2018 school year is my second year teaching.


    What other work experiences have you had before you work at HJHS?

    Most recently, I taught kindergarten - 8th grade music class and 4th - 8th grade band at Dimmick Grade School in LaSalle, IL, and kindergarten - 5th grade music class at Lincoln Elementary School in Oglesby, IL. Aside from that, I work as a music staff member for a drum and bugle corps and an indoor winds group, an adjudicator for marching bands, and I have worked on staffs for at least six different high school marching bands.


    2017 Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps Brass Staff

                2017 Chromium Indoor Winds Members and Staff


    2017 Chromium Indoor Winds Members and Staff

                2017 Chromium Indoor Winds Members and Staff


    What is your favorite class to teach and why?

    Band classes will always be my favorite!


    What is your one must-have item in your classroom?

    A metronome or a gock block. Music doesn’t count if we don’t play it in time together!


    What is your teaching motto?  

    “There is no right or wrong, only better.”  


    What or whom made you want to become a teacher?

    It started with my junior high band director, but there have been a lot of people who have made me want to be a better teacher, like my high school band director, college band directors, and drum and bugle corps staff members.


    What were your favorite subjects and least favorite subjects in school?

    My favorite subject was always band, with math in a close second. I never really had a least favorite, but I might say language arts.


    Tell us your most embarrassing story?

    When I was in college marching band, I left my trumpet in my locker in the music school. We had rehearsal very early the next morning, and when I tried to open the door to the music school it was locked because it was so early. I had to go through the entire rehearsal without my trumpet...


    If you had to get a different job, what would it be and why?

    I would probably be a professional trumpet player. I can’t imagine not being a musician in some way.


    What is the toughest aspect of teaching today?

    For me specifically, it is the volume of “stuff” that I have to handle. Teaching band and music is incredibly enjoyable for me, but there is so much “stuff” (instruments, equipment, classrooms, lesson planning, music organization, after school events, etc.) among the four schools and four bands that it is always a lot to handle.


    Please give a “shout out” to someone who inspires you to become better and/or stay strong and state why this person. 

    Freddy Martin. Freddy Martin was my teacher while I was in The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps, and now I get to teach The Cavaliers with him every summer. There is no one who has inspired me as a teacher or affected my own teaching style as much as he has.


    Freddie and Me

                                      Freddy Martin and Me


    What is one of your greatest accomplishments in your life?

    Being a part of The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps. That started for me five years ago, and much of what I do today and who I know today I owe to that.


    What are your hobbies or what do you do in your spare time when you are not in the classroom.

    I enjoy music by Snarky Puppy, Chicago, and Richard Saucedo, I like to run, and also enjoy playing my Nintendo Switch.


    What is your favorite thing about teaching?

    I love seeing the “aha” or “lightbulb” moments. There is no better feeling than seeing students really grasp onto what they have been working on, whether that’s nailing the marching band show or reading eighth notes.

Last Modified on October 4, 2017