On Returning to the Past


Ms. Theresa Steinmeyer sits with a student, going over questions of a recent assignment. Coffee in hand, she smiles at the student’s joke, then continues to look over the question carefully, making sure she understands. She spends three mornings a week in the Write Place, a service through which students tutor each other in writing, moderating the tutors.

Not too long ago, she was a Write Place tutor herself; she graduated from Fenwick in 2012. She also worked with the math team, the cross-country team, Touchstone, and Friar Mentors.

Ms. Steinmeyer hears one of the students asking about an advanced absence form, and calls out telling him where to find one. As a recent alum, she knows the ins and outs of Fenwick. “Fenwick hasn’t changed very much since I was here,” she says. Steinmeyer attended Yale University after graduating in 2012, and returned as a teacher earlier this school year.

After teaching her junior English class about Romantic poetry, and working as a substitute teacher while she plans lessons, she holds a conversation with her sophomores about Madame Defarge’s register from Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. An animated speaker, Steinmeyer is able to connect to her students through her knowledge of youth culture. She jokes about Snapchat with her class.

In all of her English classes, Steinmeyer concentrates on teaching her students how the authors speak, not just what they say. It is clear that she teaches her students the way in which language operates. Often, the students teach her back; “in one classroom, there will be thirty different viewpoints,” she noted.

She doesn’t find it difficult to teach her students. She says that Friars are constantly curious, service-oriented, and especially passionate. Though her transition from sitting at the desk of a student to a teacher’s was a large shift, she believes it wasn’t difficult. She thanks the Fenwick community for accepting her.

It is clear that Steinmeyer enjoys each day with the Fenwick community. She spends nine hours (or more) with people who she calls some of the most passionate people she has ever met. Every day, she leaves Fenwick satisfied with the work she has done, and the changes she has made to the community.