The start of a new school year brings new students and staff members. Julia Stevens, a new staff member, has joined Malden High School science department to teach chemistry to sophomores. Previously, Stevens was a student teacher at the John D. O’Brien School, located in Boston, making this year her very first year teaching at MHS. She chose to teach at MHS, because, ¨[she had] a good feeling about the staff members who interviewed [her],¨ and valued the diversity of MHS and that the students and the staff was very welcoming and friendly. ¨ As any other new staff member or student, Stevens has trouble with finding her way around the school, but in her classroom she is able to ¨interact with students and watch them evolve,¨ throughout the school year which, according to her, are the two most rewarding parts of teaching.

Although she’s new, Stevens has already made an impression on her students and colleagues. Martin Berryman, a chemistry teacher at Malden High School, tells us how he immediately saw how passionate and interested Stevens is in her work and how energetic and organized she is. He wondered if she had ever struggled with anything, seeing that Stevens is so accomplished and dedicated. She made it clear that through college she did struggle but that the key to accomplishing her goals was to try her best and never give up on herself, despite how hard the struggle is.

New Science teacher, Julia Stevens. Photo by Ryan Hames.
New Science teacher, Julia Stevens. Photo taken by Ryan Hames.

She believes her determination is innate because she grew up in a family where ¨parents had high expectations,¨ – she was always inspired to work hard and do well in school. Her love for chemistry, which is very visible to her colleagues, is something that began long ago. Stevens grew up with parents who worked in science and has had multiple great role models during her career. When asked about who inspires her, Stevens is very honest in her choices: her mother, who inspired her to play her own part as one of the few women in a lab; her mentor at her previous school, whose work ethic she models; and, of course, her very own high school chemistry teacher, whose enthusiasm inspired her interest in chemistry.

When not teaching, Stevens enjoys reading and Taekwondo. She tells of how Taekwondo, which she’s been practicing since before college, has ¨taught [her] patience and confidence,” qualities which she’s been able to carry over to her teaching experience. Most importantly, she values “building relationships with students and colleagues, having fun, and going with the flow so [she doesn’t] get overwhelmed.”

Her goals for this year are to successfully implement her teaching philosophy which revolves around “gradual release of responsibility” through a process she labels “I do, we do, you do”, being more open to possibilities of bettering herself, and hopefully helping people “cringe a little less when they hear about chemistry.”

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