Q&A With Mr Smith

Where did you live before coming to La Paz?

“The summer in Ohio and the Dominican Republic before that for 6 months.”

Was it difficult to adjust?

“Not really – I’ve lived in many countries and have a lot of time in Latin American countries so I was already ‘adjusted’.”

Why did you pick ACS? Was there anything in particular about the school that made you go “this is where I’d like to teach” ? 

“It was between Macedonia, Kuwait, and ACS. ACS seemed like the best fit in terms of admin, teaching style, livable city, and culture.”

What’s your favorite field of science and why?

“No such thing as a favorite – each has a unique aspect that is incredible.”

I heard you have a unique teaching style. How would you describe it?

“It is new to me this year – more student driven and project-based. Not letting the book dictate what we learn, but letting students decide what to learn. Not focusing on memorizing as much as applying and finding real-life examples of what we are studying.”

Do you think more teachers should adopt your teaching style? What do you think is the best way to teach a science class?

“I think each teacher needs to find their style for teaching. There is no ‘one-size fits all’ style. And trying to fit a model that isn’t comfortable is an exercise in futility and frustration. Just as every student is unique, every teacher is unique and has their strengths and weaknesses. That said, I think science is most enjoyable for all when you get to apply concepts to real-life and explore the world for real – beyond book concepts to real-life examples that happen around you every day.”

In your opinion, what makes a student “good” ?

“Effort. Honestly trying and wanting to succeed in their chosen way. Might not be the highest grades, but an honest effort is always appreciated. And it achieves an essential character trait everyone will need in their future regardless of what they choose to do.”

If you could live in any sci-fi universe, which one would it be and why?

“Never thought about it – and can’t think of one now because they all involve strange things where bad things usually happen.”

So, imagine that the zombie apocalypse has just started. What’s the very first thing you do? Where do you go?

“1st thing – check to see if I am a zombie.

Where to go – if I am not a zombie – A big island where there are no zombies yet like Hawaii.”

Would you rather fight 100 baby sized horses or 1 horse sized baby?

“1 horse sized baby – a baby will still be quite uncoordinated and easy to avoid – and it probably just wants a bottle and a nap so ….”

If you had the chance to travel back in time and meet any historical figure, who would you like to meet and why? It could be an artist, scientist, mathematician… anyone.

“I would like to meet Jesus and get his take on everything – first hand account.

If not Jesus – a man named Jesse Owens who won 4 gold medals at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin when Hitler was in power. My grandfather ran track with him at Ohio State and it would be nice to meet him – know him as a person.”

Imagine that you are given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of talking to an alien. What would you ask them? Is there anything in particular that you’d say to them?

“Ask the alien how they are and what they want. Make them feel welcome and invite them to have fun.”

Are there any fun facts about you that you would like to share

“I am a big foodie and coffee person – love to find great food and have coffee adventures. Part of my travels always include finding great food and enjoying.”

Lastly, what’s the craziest or most interesting experience you’ve ever had? This could be in general, or it could be something that happened at school while you were a kid or while you were teaching at another institution. 

“All the jobs I’ve had that have taken me all over the world and done such different things – white water rafting in Maine, aerial challenge courses in the redwoods, driving a van in Hawaii to the top of Haleakala and down again, teaching in 7 countries, and so many more.”

Allain Barros

My name is Allain. I am a senior who loves science. I am from Brazil. My favorite food is french fries. A word that would describe me would be curious.

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