By Rachel Cooper
Name: Todd Stephens
Subject: United States History, 9-12th grade
Education: Bunker Hill Elementary School, Backus Middle School, Roosevelt High School, University of Maryland in College Park
Previous Jobs: Nestle Food Company salesperson, substitute teacher in Prince George's County Public Schools and in Montgomery County Public Schools
Came to Blair in: 2000, as a substitute teacher, 2002 as a full time teacher
Hobbies: Working out, physical exercise, basketball, tennis
Extra Curricular Activities: None at the moment
When Stephens was in high school, he was "a people person." He loved mathematics because of its challenging aspects and multiple varieties. One of his most memorable teachers was a particularly strict math teacher, who failed Stephens on his first attempt at Algebra class. Determined to prove himself, Stephens took another course taught by the same teacher, and received much better marks. "I was motivated to go back to her," Stephens said, with a rise in volume in his voice. "If I passed her class, I knew I knew mathematics."
Stephens also enjoys taking walks on the wild side. When he was ten years old, he crossed a massive creek in Queenstown, Maryland. "I was five feet tall and the waters ranged up to my shoulders," Stephens said, indicating the height with his hand. "When you get caught in creek waters…you are in serious trouble," he warned cautiously. Stephens described the water-filled adventure as "being bold-stupidly bold."
As much as Stephens loves teaching, there are also tough components of the job. He experiences many problems dealing with classroom management. "Getting students on task and keeping them on task," Stephens said, with a firm look plastered on his face. Another challenging aspect is the lack of enthusiasm in students. "In my class, the percent of kids who do their homework is high," he said. Apparently, the percentage is not high enough. Some young scholars do not turn in their assignments or make an effort, according to Stephens. "They're missing out if they don't do their homework," Stephens said, shaking his head slightly.
Stephens believes that everyone should "live up to the potential." He feels a great dislike for having to give students low grades. "I think that the worst thing is seeing students you know have the ability to get an A or B who end up failing the class," Stephens said, reflecting sadly on past experiences. Thankfully, he has not faced many students with this dilemma in the past semester. "I've been through two quarters and I'm glad to say there's been very few failures," Stephens exclaimed, beaming proudly.
Stephens has many words of wisdom about pursuing the ultimate profession. "Make sure you know it is something you will stick with, even with the good days and bad days, and the days when you want to just get up and run," Stephens said. Although Stephens may be a newer addition to Montgomery Blair High School's faculty, he seems to have found his ideal career. "The whole experience of teaching-the challenges and expectations day to day…some you expect and some you don't…it's the best job you can have," Stephens concluded, with a permanent smile on his face.