He’s made the most of his first year

Teacher feature: Mr. Daniel Smith


Creative Commons

At Armijo, Mr. Smith teaches science, specifically chemistry

This is Mr. Daniel Smith’s first year at Armijo. “I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive team in the science department,” he said. “We have some amazing science teachers here, and I’m so excited to be part of the department here at AHS.”

Mr. Smith teaches Chemistry in the Earth systems, which is an exciting science class about chemistry and Earth science.

While he may be new to teaching, he has had an interesting career leading up to it. “Before I started teaching, I played and taught music. I’ve played the trumpet for over a decade now. I love to play in the pit orchestra for theatre productions and on stage with a jazz band. I still practice my trumpet and teach music on the weekends,” he said.
He studied trumpet performance and physical science at Sonoma State University. And went on to graduate school at UC Santa Cruz, studying musicology and teaching some music classes.

“I became a teacher because my family and friends are teachers, so it was a very natural choice. My mom has been a speech pathologist in the district for 17 years and she is retiring this year. My roommates teach in Fairfield and in Vacaville. I’m grateful also that I became a teacher at AHS in the same Fairfield community where I was raised.”

Mr. Smith was raised as an only child born to a single mom, “the strongest and most intelligent woman I know,” he said. He actually grew up in Sacramento before moving to Fairfield in 2005. While his immediate family is small, he does have ten uncles and aunts and lots of cousins. He spends his time riding bikes and playing golf with many of
them. He is also a huge fan of the Sacramento Kings and attends most of their home games. “I also like to paint with acrylics and play PC games,” he said.

Since he wasn’t a teacher during the heart of the pandemic, he didn’t have the experience of Distance Learning, but he still works hard to manage a balance between the physical and digital classrooms. COVID-19 “has made me consider how I teach so that I support all my students and their different learning styles,” he said.

“For students considering becoming an educator, I would encourage them to consider how they would make a difference as a teacher. Are you passionate about the subject you want to teach? How will you help students grow into adults? How would you engage students and help them learn? If you can easily visualize teaching and are excited to
learn how you can make an impact in young peoples’ lives, teaching is the right job for you,” he said.

“If I could change anything about Armijo, I would make it a requirement for students to be enrolled in an elective, club, or sport,” said Mr. Smith. “Participating in the AHS community and getting involved is what strengthens us.”