Teacher Spotlight: Steven Hammerman

Around the state of Florida, teachers go above and beyond to bring the best educational opportunities to their students. Today, we wanted to highlight one of these teachers. Do you know a K-12 teacher who deserves a spotlight? Email our Education Program Director Dr. Jacqui May.

Steven Hammerman is the Social Science Director of the Weiss School in Palm Beach County. Prior to that position, Steven taught at Falcon Cove in Broward County. He previously attended Florida Humanities Council educator workshops, and found an opportunity to expand on those experiences.

What was your first FHC seminar experience?

I first attended “La Florida,” a workshop which explores Spanish Colonial Florida. We spent the weekend in St. Augustine with Dr. Michael Francis learning about the oldest settlement in North America.

What is your impression of that experience?

Eye opening. I grew up in New York and lived in Florida for 18 years without ever visiting St. Augustine. My limited knowledge of the St. Augustine story came from misleading oral and textual history.  This experience gave me the depth and detail that only access to primary documents and interaction with experts in their fields and my peers from around the state could provide.

Do you have a particular highlight from the program?

As an avid scuba diver and instructor, I was intrigued by the research of Dr. Greg Cook, a marine archeologist from the University of West Florida and a presenter. Dr. Cook talked about the ill-fated Tristan de Luna expedition near Pensacola. Dr. Cook conducts underwater archaeology efforts to locate the ship and learn more about the journey.

  • Students from the Weiss School observe the dive on a platform above.

  • Dr. Greg Cook, left, and Steven prepare for a dive.

Has there been any luck in applying what you learned in the workshop?

Dr. Cook and his graduate students helped me organize a field experience for my 7th graders. Thirteen students traveled to Pensacola with me to observe a marine archeology excavation of the de Luna shipwreck! The students watched the excavation from a dive platform via live video feed. We also explored important historical sites relating to the area.

Lately, a number of articles talk about the challenges educators face. For new teachers coming into the profession, what advice would you offer?

Make your continuing education and enrichment part of your personal annual plan. Take advantage of resources and programs to grow as an individual and as an educator. This makes teaching fun and interesting for you, which, in-turn, makes learning fun and interesting for your students.

Anything is possible. Don’t let yourself get jammed-up and miss out on opportunities for you or your students. Be a lifelong learner with a passion for your content and watch that translate to student interest, growth, and success.

The Florida Humanities Council sponsors educator workshops every school year and summer. For more details, visit floridahumanities.org/educators.

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