Meet the Red Knight: Physics Teacher Tanner Stevens


Alexis Brixius

Physics Teacher Tanner Stevens keeps a safety pin on his shirt to show students he is a safe person to talk to.

Where do you want to be in 15 years?
“Oh boy, 15 years, that’s a long way out. Wherever I am in 15 years, I certainly would enjoy still being teaching. I’ll have kids in high school which will be strange. I think I would give my kids the choice whether I teach them. I almost kind of don’t want to because I want them to have their own life and experience in high school; as long as I am able to do things like go to their sports and activities. Being there for my kids in 15 years is really important. As long as I still love what I do every day, like teaching is something that I enjoy waking up to do every day, I feel like that’s what makes me happy.”

What talent do you find unique or important to you?
“I guess based on this year chess has become a thing, so playing chess with my students and having a little diversion at the end of class is fun. I would say any skill I can have where I can connect with my students outside of physics is fun like juggling, playing chess, talking about sports or movies or whatever it is.”

Describe your childhood in 4 words.
“I can do five words: All experiences lead me here.”

Who is your hero, and why?
“I’m gonna say my dad because he wasn’t a perfect person by any means––he certainly had his flaws, but I always saw him continually working to be a better person, to be better to others, at his job, a better dad, husband, all of that. Anything he did, he poured himself into it and learned about it. He was a football and baseball player, but he decided he was going to get into running for his kids, so that was fun to see. He had continual improvement in everything.”

What is an item you bring with you everywhere, besides a cell phone?
“My safety pin. I put one in my shirt every morning or leave them in my shirt if I forget to take them out. It’s meant as a marker or signal that whatever you’re going through or if you’re having a tough time or if you need someone to talk to I’m a safe person to talk to.”

What makes you laugh?
“Seniors and their shenanigans. You guys make me smile.”

Are you someone that wants someone to spoil the end of a show or movie for you?
“Honestly if you tell me the end, I’m really good at forgetting. It doesn’t totally matter to me because you can tell me, and then if I watch it the next day it doesn’t totally matter to me because I’m good at blocking it out. No big deal.”

What is your least favorite fast food chain?
“What’s coming to mind at the moment is places where I eat and feel like I still didn’t get enough food. I guess McDonald’s leaves me feeling that way. You get a Big Mac and fries, and I feel like I need two of them to make me full. They’re also not my favorite fries.”

What fast food chain is your favorite?
“There are times if I’m really in the mood for gyro, I love one spot, but if I want a good burger, I’ll go to a different spot. Falafel King is currently my fav, but it changes every month I’d say. I’m a big gyro fan. Good gyro just hits the spot.”

Any extra comments?
“For the seniors, my hope for each of you is that you are able to find that thing that brings you joy and keep doing that. That’s my hope and dream for each of you.”