History teacher discusses course to career


IB History teacher Steve Smith is a favorite among IB students. However, Smith said his journey to education was not always a straight path, be it where he wanted to teach, what subject, or if he wanted to teach in general.

Smith said he had originally intended to be a history professor at a small college, however, after teaching at a high school at the beginning of his career, he felt high school was where he was meant to be. “I had positive experiences in teaching in high school. And so I stayed teaching in high school, okay, I thought, maybe that’s where God wanted me to be,” Smith said.

Senior Jenna Green is currently in Smith’s IB HIstory 12 class and had him for IB History 11. Green said that Smith has affected her more than any other teacher at West.

“He was a wake-up call to my work ethic and because of him, I have developed skills that are going to help me beyond high school. He has made me dig deeper when learning; I now want to learn what he teaches rather than focus on completing an assignment and getting what is required done,” Green said.

Smith said he had some teachers that inspired him when he was younger who lead him to a career in teaching.

“I had several teachers that you know, were just tremendous. And I admired them for what they did. And when I was in college, I also had some teachers that I thought were really fantastic. And I always loved learning and loved, you know, education. So sometime in the middle of college, I decided that I was going to get a degree in history and be a history teacher.”

When Smith was in college, he said that he only had an idea of what he liked, not necessarily what he wanted to have as a career.

“I was unsure really what I was going to do when I was in college,” Smith said, “I wanted to be in a field of people, kind of a field for a people person and a teacher course was one of those possibilities.”

Other than education, Smith said he thought about going into law or foreign communication. Smith said his ultimate goal was to help people, which is what lead him to teach.

IB History Teacher, Christy Dabalos, said that Smith’s teaching and his personality are a mix between old school and new school.

“He has certainly embraced his website and has a lot of great resources on his website, and his calendar and his syllabus, and you can, you know, has a lot of different pages that you can go to look things up, he is always willing to try some new things,” Dabalos said, “ But then I also know that he’s a firm believer in, you know, vocabulary and identifications and note taking, and things like that, that we oftentimes associate with, you know, with the old school.”

Along with his teaching, Smith said that his interactions with colleges had changed through the years.

“When I started teaching a long time ago, of course, I was the young teacher, and some of the older teachers may have wondered about, you know, who is that guy? And Who does he think he is, or whatever,” Smith said. “And now, of course, as kind of the old person on the staff.”

Smith continues to be inspired to teach by the hope that he is impacting his student in a positive way.

“I think what inspires me to continue to teach is just hoping that I make a difference in the lives of the young people that I encounter, whether they’re freshmen or seniors, and whether they’re in the valedictorian of the class, or whether they’re struggling to have it makes sense, I hope I just made a difference to them,” Smith said.

Smith said that, while the material he is teaching is important, to him, the well being of his students is the priority for  him.

“I am eternally grateful that I’ve had the pleasure of working with Mr. Smith he is by far and just I mean I’m going to miss him so much he’s gone because we just have a great time and I just really enjoy him,” Dabalos said. “I don’t know I sometimes I think about that. Like I try not to think about it because it kind of makes me a little upset.”