Teacher Feature — Steven Spangenberg


Spangenberg is a first year teacher at West Potomac, and teaches chemistry.

When some West Potomac sophomores looked into their schedule at the start of the 2015-16 school year, they read “Spangenberg” beside their chemistry period and wondered what their new teacher would be like. This school year marks Steven Spangenberg’s first year as a chemistry teacher and his first year teaching high school students.

“Everybody says that your first year is about survival mode but I have not felt that way because the teachers and the students have been super helpful and there is a strong sense of community here that I love,” Spangenberg said. “I love West Potomac.”

After pursuing a PhD in Chemistry at Georgetown University to be a college professor, Spangenberg realized he hated research, which was a big part of getting his PHD.

“I just loved the teaching part,” Spangenberg said. “So I decided to pursue a high school teaching position.”

Before he officially decided to pursue a high school teaching position, Spangenberg, who graduated from Ohio State University, tutored a bunch of high school students and decided to help make an impact on people that had not decided what to do in their life. He swayed people to take an interest in science before they went to college.

“I love helping people, you can’t be a teacher without helping people,” said Spangenberg. “I love that moment where you help students like when it clicks and they’re like “Oh, I get it!” and that moment gives me more joy than anything else I’ve experienced in life.”

Sophomore Fabiola Castro, who has Spangenberg for first period, thinks that he always makes sure his students know that he’s there to help them and answer whatever question they had.

“He teaches well and gives us a lot of opportunities to practice the material. He always makes sure we understand what we’re learning,” said Castro.

Now that the school year is wrapping up, Spangenberg has been thinking about his “end of the year speech.”

“I want them [students] to know that they should experience as much as possible because I think that’s the best way to learn: to take experiences and take chances,” said Spangenberg. “I want them to come out of my class with the mindset that even something as hard as Chemistry can sometimes be fun if you want to make it fun.”