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Teacher Spotlight: Steven Martinez

Mr. Martinez is a well-known teacher at Santa Barbara High School who teaches Chemistry and AVID. Mr. Martinez is a funny and trusted teacher. His fun vibe in his classroom makes students unafraid to go to him when they need anything. The vibe in the classroom is set by the music he plays at the beginning of every class period. When asked if he thinks music helps students get ready for class, he stated that when he was in high school, walking into a quiet classroom was boring. Mr. Martinez said, “As a teacher, I definitely want my students to feel like they’re walking into a fun and energetic environment. Music is a great way to do that!” In his classroom, there is a featured artist every week, and his students can suggest the artist they want to hear. 

Mr. Martinez became a teacher in the 2021-2022 school year, so he is currently in his third year teaching. However, he was a student teacher for Mrs. Poster on Zoom during the 2020-2021 school year. Mr. Martinez says, “during Zoom [teaching] was really stressful, especially because most students never turned their cameras on so I was just talking to a bunch of black boxes.” Mr. Martinez also added he never got to learn how to control a classroom when transitioning into in-person classes, due to being a student teacher over Zoom, but eventually figured it out. While he was a student teacher here at SBHS, Dr. Simmons offered him a full time job, but only if he taught AVID along with it. He states “At the time, I had no idea what AVID was, but I wasn’t going to turn down a full time job!” To him, teaching chemistry has been easy, but AVID at first was a struggle. Martinez is currently preparing many juniors for college in his AVID class while also being the co-coordinator for AVID here at SBHS. Mr. Martinez said, “I will definitely be crying when my AVID students graduate next year.”

In 2014, Mr. Martinez started college at UCSB and graduated from there in 2019. While attending UCSB, Mr. Martinez loved it and met some of his closest friends there. Martinez says he learned how to be confident in himself and his interests while being at UCSB, but also learned how to survive on his own without his parents. He spent five years at UCSB and ended with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, but went back to get his master’s degree in education. Mr. Martinez added advice for anyone reading “Don’t feel bad if it takes you longer than four years to get your degree! A lot of people I know took longer than four years.” Although in 2014 he originally went into college as a chemical engineering major, he quickly realized he hated engineering. Mr. Martinez stated, “I’ve always been pretty good at math and science, plus my dad always told me that I need to major in something that would make me a lot of money, so engineering felt like a natural choice for me.” After failing a few classes he switched to a chemistry major. As his graduation approached, he started to think more seriously about his future and didn’t want to work in a lab his whole life. That is when he took an education class for fun. The catalyst that made him decide he wanted to become a teacher was an education class he took. He adds, “I learned all about the problems with the education system and wanted to make some contributions to making education better for future students. That was when I decided that I wanted to be a teacher!” 

Growing up, Mr. Martinez did not want to be a teacher, but instead has always wanted to be an astronaut. The idea of going into space and seeing the planets from a perspective not everyone gets to see while floating around in a space station sounds extremely exciting to him. Mr. Martinez says “Maybe one day I’ll get to space, but for now I’ve got plenty of stuff to do here on Earth.” Martinez was asked who is a famous person he looks up to and he responded with Jack Black. Mr. Martinez explained, “He’s so funny, positive, and charming. He seems like the kind of guy that always keeps his chin up and finds the bright side in everything.” It is Jack Black who inspires Martinez to have a good attitude even when things get tough. Mr. Martinez engages with his students in and outside of the classroom everyday, leaving many students excited to see him with his funny personality. Therefore, many students hope to see him here at SBHS for a while and can’t wait to see him succeed in his teaching career. 

Image Credit: Steven Martinez


  • Viviana Ruiz

    Viviana Ruiz is a junior who is from Santa Barbara. She likes to write in the forge because she is able to write what she is interested in.

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