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English teacher Smith loves good music, Nick Jr.

Teachers Pet: Mr. Steve Smith ’96

By P.J. Binsfeld ’15

Mr. Reithman’s question from March’s “Teacher’s Pet”: If you had a different major in college, what would the impact on your life be?

I wouldn’t be teaching at Brophy because I did start off with an engineering major.  And so I would be an engineer somewhere and thus that would be a sad, sad life for me, and so I’m really happy I changed my major to English, and that’s a great question, Mr. Reithman.

To keep in this month’s theme, what are some things you do behind the scenes for Brophy?

I’m not certain that everybody knows I do the Work Study program here, I know that people know that I teach English.  I also coach both cross country and track, and I also want to give a shout out to the Vinyl Appreciation club, which I moderate.  They’re a group of awesome guys who meet every Thursday and we talk music and listen to records.

Who was your favorite teacher when you were at Brophy as a student?

Well, some of the teachers who are still here would be Mr. Danforth and I had Mr. Woods as my coach, but easily my favorite, who people would all know, is Fr. Olivier, S.J.  He was my religion teacher freshman year.  I’ll never forget how kind he was to me and those students and it is something that has absolutely affected my life; just to be kind like him is something that has absolutely affected my life.

What inspired you to be a teacher at Brophy?

I didn’t originally set out to necessarily teach at Brophy; that just kind of worked out.  I taught four or five years before at public school.  A lot of it goes back to the “man for others” that everybody talks about and we all learn about.  I just thought teaching was a great way to have a career and consistently help people and since I’m a Brophy grad, I’ve learned all of this at Brophy and I’ve always wanted to put myself out there as a man for others and someone who is committed to helping out his fellow man, and I thought teaching would be a great way to have a career but also be consistently helping people.

What kinds of things do you do on your weekends?

All I do is kid stuff.  I watch a lot of Nick Jr., I go to parks a lot with my little kids.  I’ve really forgotten what I used to do with my life before having kids; I really couldn’t tell you what I would do on a normal weekend.  I have a three year old who wakes up at 4:30 a.m. and by the time I get up with him and get him his chocolate milk and watch Nick Jr. with him, and then I switch over to my other kid and we play chess or my daughter and we read books or go to the park or go to the library; it’s all kid’s stuff until about 8 p.m. then I might read a book or watch a few minutes of Netflix, then I’m basically done about 9.

What’s your favorite Nick Jr. show?

Well, we have “Dora”, “Diego”,” Team Umi Zumi”, and then really boring ones like “Franklin and Little Bill”; sorry Little Bill, but you’re not exciting.  But I like “Backyardigans”.  Backyardigans is my favorite because they have decent music and have cool people on those episodes like Alicia Keys.  She played an alien.

I hear that you like music.  What kind of music are you listening to as of now?

Tonight, which is March 28th, I’m going to Jeff Magnum of Neutral Milk Hotel, and I’m not going with Charles (Dominguez ’14) and Roan (Enright ’13), but we’re all going to be there together, although I’m going to give them their personal space and they’ll give me my personal space, but we will say hello to each other.  I don’t know what you’d call it; I hate saying Indie, but just anything that’s good.  I swear, it could be Latin Fusion Jazz or Americana or Indie or Country.  If it’s good, I’d love to listen to it.

What’s your all-time favorite band?

My all-time favorite band, actually it’s kind of crazy because I’m going to see him tonight, and it’s Neutral Milk Hotel.  I just think that they are brilliant.  It’s his solo show, but I think I’d put him up as No. 1.  There are so many good ones, but I think I’d barely inch him up above maybe the Beatles or maybe Radiohead.  I just love him and he’s going to be in concert tonight, so it’s going to be awesome and I never go to concerts, I swear I haven’t been out in years.

I heard a rumor that you own every single album ever made.  Is that true or false?

That would be cool, but that’s not true.  Where did this rumor come from?  I’d like to challenge this rumor here.  I do not, but I do enjoy that there’s something in humans that we still need to collect things.  So I don’t know if music will go wholly digital ever where we have everything on our computer.  I still want to hold on to a record or a CD or a tape or something, so I do enjoy collecting vinyl records.  I also think it’s important for me to support the bands.  Many people just download music, so I enjoy supporting the bands that way so that they are making some money off their art.

As a Brophy teacher now, do you think you can go to your reunion?

I’ve never gone to my reunions.  I have a 20 coming up soon, but I don’t think I’ll go to it because high school is awesome, but when you survive it and get outside of it, you think, “Holy cow, that was a stressful time in my life.”  And it’s like this big ball of stress when you go back to reunions and I don’t know if I want to feel those feelings again.  But I’ll have to report back to you if I go to my 20.  I specifically didn’t go to my 10 because I didn’t think people, at that point, would be bald enough or fat enough.  So maybe the 20-year people will be bald enough.  But I’ve almost disassociated myself from student life as I walk around as a teacher.  Like my first year here, I walked around re-creating my steps as a student, but I think I’m past that now.

Would you like to pose a question for the next edition of Teacher’s Pet?

Would you rather live in a world without your favorite food or live in a world where you have to eat your favorite food three meals a day, every day for your entire life?  P.S.: What’s your favorite food?

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