Prof. Joanne Stevens

College Guidance

Biography

When I was in high school, my AP English teacher was a heavyset, serious-minded, animated, bearded bard. His class was different and refreshing. His love of the material oozed from every ounce of his being and bellowing voice. He lit up the classroom. I couldn’t wait to attend! That is what I try to do for my students here at Rambam where I have happily taught for close to ten years. With varied approaches including audio, visual, and tactile learning experiences, I work to create an environment where the students are excited about coming to class. My aim is to make the material go down like “a spoon full of sugar” because I strongly believe that learning can and should be enjoyable. Teaching is a privilege and a responsibility. Beyond academic learning, I believe that the classroom should be a place where a student can find themselves or part of themselves. To this end, I make the classroom a place where the most timid student has the courage to stand up and read his latest essay…and then revel in the students’ applause; a place where the “tough, stoic athlete” can read a gentle poem he wrote and receive a standing ovation! What is my motivation on the difficult days? When the weaker academic student passes the Global Regents but also draws upon his hidden creative talents to sketch a caricature of Galileo which I proudly frame and place in the classroom for all to see…accolades abounding. Motivation? When an A.P. English student creates a competitive short story writing competition club just for “summer fun” and reaches out to tell me about it! Motivation? When an Intro to Law student drops me a line to thank me for igniting in him a love for the law and then goes on to rave about how much he loved the summer legal internship he scored at a big name law firm! Aside from the students’ academic successes which are critical, at the risk of sounding cliché, my greatest triumph is when I can touch the life of a student in a positive or meaningful way. Put simply, for me, teaching success is not only quantified by grades. The silent successes are the richest. For example, a student and his parent each wrote separate letters to me expressing that I had helped the student through a most difficult time in life. They sent heartfelt appreciation for my being a teacher, a mentor, and a source of encouragement and inspiration. Letters like these make it all worthwhile. After wiping away a river of tears after reading one, I am renewed and ready to return to the classroom with creativity and enthusiasm, ready to lead more openhearted, open-minded students on a journey of academic success and self-discovery and perhaps, just perhaps, helping to encourage a lifelong love of learning!

Education

Fordham College at Rose Hill, New York (Bachelor of Arts, Philosophy), Summa Cum Laude, Fordham School of Law at Lincoln Center, New York (Juris Doctorate)

Subjects

AP English, Global History, Introduction to Law, College Guidance