Bronco Spotlight: Sheridan Steelman

Photo of Sheridan Steelman

Ph.D. in English, 2017

Current Job Title:

High School English Teacher 

Current Employer:

Northview Public Schools 

Describe your current job:

I teach AP Literature and English 11 at a Kent County school in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I work with students who are interested in obtaining college credit through the Advanced Placement English Literature National Exam as well as those students who struggle in English. I am a veteran teacher who decided to work toward a Ph.D. while working full time. In addition to my responsibilities as a full-time teacher, I am a Curriculum Teacher Leader, Department Chairperson, a Co-Chair of the District Language Arts Committee, and the facilitator of the West Michigan AP Language and AP Literature Networking Group. 

What is the most rewarding and the most challenging part of your job?

My students are by far the most rewarding and the most challenging part of the job. It takes passion, dedication, motivation, compassion, and a sense of humor to stay in teaching and to remain current. Today's students are connected to the outside world and savvy enough to use technology in both their personal and academic lives. Teachers who learn to facilitate learning in today's world with the demands placed upon our young people will be the most challenged and the most fulfilled. 

Which of your skills had the biggest impact on your success? 

I already had a job while I was pursuing my degree, so the purpose of the degree was to enhance my own learning to help better prepare my students for today's world. Sharing my life as a student impacted my own students greatly. They understood I had deadlines and learned about the rigors of higher education. They also understood that setbacks and failures did not deter my own learning. The professors I had, especially my committee chairperson, greatly steered my course throughout the journey. 

What advice do you have for students looking for their career after college? 

Stay in teaching, even though the first few years may be challenging. Make sure you have a mentor who can help you learn curriculum and help students. Most teachers who leave the field do so within the first five years. It takes commitment and a true love of young people to fulfill a long-term goal of teaching. 

See other Spotlights