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To say Roger Bacon students love Steven Smith would be an understatement. If you have read our Face of RB profiles, you likely recognize Mr. Smith as one of the most popular answers to the question "who is your favorite teacher?" The Roger Bacon science teacher is beloved among students (and parents) and he feels just as strongly about them. “When I come to Roger Bacon each day, it just confirms that this is exactly where I am supposed to be, and exactly what I am supposed to be doing,” exclaims Mr. Smith.
Mr. Smith grew up in Cincinnati and attended St. Xavier High School. It was an environment that would impact him down the road. “It is definitely a big school. My friends and I would play a game at mass where we would identify kids we didn’t know or had never seen before. It was a great school, but just an easy place to get lost,” explains Mr. Smith. After graduating, Mr. Smith attended the University of Akron, where he was on an accelerated medical school track that allowed him to finish his undergrad in just two years. He then attended medical school at Northeastern Ohio Medical School for a year before having a change of heart. As Mr. Smith shares, “I withdrew after a year, due largely to the stress of just not taking care of myself mentally. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, when my future mother-in-law suggested teaching. She told me she recognized by ability to connect with kids, and thought it would be a great fit.”
Mr. Smith had began teaching at Mother of Mercy High School, where his wife, Emma, attended, and his mother-in-law taught. Not long into his time at Mercy, it was announced that the school would be closing. Over the next year and a half, awaiting the closure, Mr. Smith taught at Mercy, while looking for his next opportunity, when he saw an opening at Roger Bacon had become available. “I didn’t know much about Roger Bacon, but I knew during that first year that it was a special place. It definitely has the small-school feel I was looking for. It is such a special community. It is a place where everyone has friends. Where no one ever feels isolated, and where everyone is really looking out for each other,” says Mr. Smith.
In fact, Mr. Smith knew on his very first day at Roger Bacon that it was going to be special. “It was my first day here,” he shares, “and I had all of the anxiety and hesitancy you would expect, and in my very first class, here comes James Thompson ’20, who came straight up to me and introduces himself, shakes my hand, and lets me know that I now had at least one friend at RB. James went out of his way the next two years to make sure he was always saying “Hi” and checking in on me, which is just what people do here at Roger Bacon.”
In his role as science teacher, Mr. Smith is excited by the connection he gets to make with students each day, helping them learn and see the potential in themselves, while also helping them cope with the stress of high school and being a teenager. “I really try to emphasize to my students how important it is to take care of themselves mentally. Their success in the future is not just academics, but also how they take care of themselves mentally at this crucial age,” explains Mr. Smith. He is also very proud of some of the innovation he has been able to help introduce at Roger Bacon, such as a new program with Beacon Orthopedics that gives Roger Bacon students a unique opportunity. “We had a chance to go to Beacon, and as I was discussing with Dr. Ian Rice (RB team physician) that our kids got to do things, like the dissection of a cadaver, or operation an orthopedic machine, that most don’t get to do until they are in medical school,” says Mr. Smith, "Which is really exciting as a teacher and for our students."
Mr. Smith is also moderator of the Academic Team, as well as Student Senate. “One of my favorite parts of being moderator of Senate is just seeing kids outside of the classroom setting, and getting to know them in different ways. We have such an amazing student population here, I love when everyone is more relaxed, and you can really get to know a student in that setting,” says Mr. Smith. This is also a reason he has gotten more involved with KAIROS at RB. “KAIROS is just a great opportunity to help gets become more empathetic and caring towards each other and the world around them. It helps us focus on the most important part of life, which is being happy with who you are, and the people you surround yourself with,” shares Mr. Smith.
Mr. Smith and his wife, Emma, have been married for two years, but have been together for nine. They live in the Norwood community.
For all of those students who wonder, sometimes anxiously, what the future may hold for Mr. & Mrs. Smith, you will be happy to know Roger Bacon is part of the plan.
“My plan is to definitely stay at Roger Bacon. I have no desire to leave anytime soon. I get asked sometimes if my goal is to get back to St. Xavier to teach, and it totally isn’t,” says Mr. Smith. “I love Roger Bacon, and I love the small school, family environment here. This is just a different place. I love teaching co-ed students, and I love the types of people that make up our student body. They are different than at other schools. They are diverse, they are caring, and they are a close knit community that takes care of each other. I am just so lucky to be a part of it!”