Marcus High School's Online Newspaper

The Marquee

Marcus High School's Online Newspaper

The Marquee

Marcus High School's Online Newspaper

The Marquee

College student takes on role as long-term sub

Avery Jerina
Substitute Stephan Gomez leads his orchestra students through a piece in preparation for their fall concert.

The orchestra room was decorated with balloons, ready to host a celebration. It was early September and the students came together sporting matching homemade T-shirts celebrating their beloved long term sub. Their shirts were decorated with inside jokes and memories they had made with their substitute teacher, Stephan Gomez.

He stood front and center, sporting a shirt dotted with flowers and hearts and smiley faces that said, “We love Stephan.”

This student-led celebration was a way to show him how much he would be missed when he left the next day.

Most people think of substitute teachers as retired teachers with gray hair and sometimes a grumpy attitude. None of the above apply to Gomez. The 21 year old, who prefers his students to call him by his first name, is a couple of semesters away from his undergraduate degree.

Usually being a substitute requires a degree, but Gomez’s expertise and passion for music gave him credibility with principals and district employees who encouraged Gomez to pursue teaching.
“It’s only gotten me here because of the people I know, and the person I am,” Gomez said.

He has never questioned following these opportunities. His eagerness to learn more about music has guided him in his career.

Gomez started teaching orchestra classes only a year out of high school. He originally taught at Guyer High School the year after he graduated, filling in for his former teacher while she was on maternity leave.

“I was teaching kids I just got out of school with. So they all knew me. It was weird, because I was 19,” Gomez said.

Not even a year later, he got a second opportunity to teach because his teacher had another baby.

His third teaching job was at Marcus.

Gomez is not only a full time college student, but he attends two colleges. He goes to UNT full time to study music theory, and he flies to an orchestral conducting program in Nebraska once a week when he is not teaching.

Gomez is working towards becoming an orchestral conductor for big symphonies. Part of his goal includes going to community meetings and teaching youth orchestras about the importance of music. This led to Gomez taking on the challenge of teaching and going to school at the same time.

Though he’s enjoyed the challenge of juggling two full time schedules he still found it hard to keep up with all of his responsibilities. He said that he often felt that he was taking on too much.
“It’s a different level of exhaustion,” Gomez said.

In his first two years of college, Gomez was not getting enough sleep, staying up to study or prepare lesson plans. His crammed schedule once caused him to take an exam online at 3 in the morning because that was the only free time in his schedule.

Even so, Gomez has maintained a 4.0 GPA for the entirety of his college career, studying upwards of six hours in the evening after teaching all day.

He said one way he was able to avoid burnout was learning something new about music every day.

Substitute teacher Stephan Gomez taught orchestra at the school while attending college classes. (Avery Jerina)

He said that despite his full schedule, he looks forward to teaching.

“I don’t think I would be able to hold any other job, and go to school full time if it wasn’t teaching,” Gomez said.

Many students, like junior Carter James, said Gomez was able to relate to them.

“We were here to help support him, and he was here to help support us.” I thought it worked really well,” James said.

Junior Isis Richardson said Gomez’s goal of inspiring passion for music helped him bring the students together while they played.

“When we played as an orchestra, it didn’t feel like the conductor was on a different level,” Richardson said. “It just felt like we were all making music together.”

He said his victories in teaching and sharing music also kept him going when his busy schedule caught up with him.

“It could literally be a smile from one kid in the room. It could be one kid who has never played in tune, finally getting the concept of playing in tune… when they come to you, you get that reassurance that you’re doing the right thing,” Gomez said.


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About the Contributors
Marley Roberson, Reporter
Marley Roberson (she/her) is a junior, and this is her first year on staff. She enjoys spending time with friends, writing, and reading. She loves listening to new music, and playing video games with friends. She is looking forward to her first year on staff. She is really excited to start writing for the Marquee.
Avery Jerina, Photographer
Avery Jerina (she/her) is a senior and a first year staff member of The Marquee.  Avery began practicing photography in 2017 as a hobby. Her favorite things to photograph are her friends, nature, and overall creative shots. Aside from photography, one of her main passions in life is dance, and more specifically ballet. Avery has danced for nearly 15 years and has trained in a pre-professional ballet company in Coppell for 4 years. Avery is excited for her final year at Marcus!

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