Mr. Smith on why Mounties should be “okay with being uncomfortable”!

Hi Mounties! We had the pleasure of talking to Mr. Eli Smith, the new Spanish teacher at the Mount. Mr. Smith truly embodies the role of a Spanish teacher, sharing his multitude of experiences with us. For example, Mr. Smith immersed himself in the Spanish culture, taking the opportunity to live in Spain for 6 months abroad with a host family. He felt that this immersion in Spanish culture was a turning point in learning to speak the language, due to the fact that his host family didn’t speak any English at all. Being in Spain for 6 months also helped him become a stronger Spanish teacher.
Before coming to the Mount, Mr. Smith explored multiple endeavors. He shared how his learning experiences in Spain translated to his professions as a Social worker and a teacher as well. No matter what profession Mr. Smith is working in, he is always improving his Spanish skills in addition to being a mentor and leader to young adults and children. He shares: “I was a social worker in the city and that was really a job that even helped me get my Spanish better, but it just became too much, so I decided to go back to teaching…it was very gratifying for me to be the connecting piece of what they needed.”
After discussing Mr. Smith’s previous jobs and endeavors, we asked what led him to the Mount. He explained that he wasn’t really expecting to change schools; however, an email from Ms. Hollenbaugh changed his plans… So he took a chance after having a great interview with Ms. Hollenbaugh. Mr. Smith “…fell in love with the whole idea of the small classrooms and the sense of community here.”
Although Mr. Smith was very eager to begin this new chapter, he also describes being a bit apprehensive and uncomfortable with change. This sense of discomfort in his life experience led him to be vulnerable and share something he would like to apply in his own classroom. “I think the biggest thing for me is, I think I definitely learned this when I was in Spain… It’s the idea of being okay with being uncomfortable.”
We both agreed; being uncomfortable leads you to some of the best experiences of your life. As seniors, hearing this advice was very comforting. Mr. Smith had more words of wisdom for upperclassmen stating, “one piece of advice I can give you both, especially because you are seniors and going to college; find your people.” We are so grateful to be at the Mount and a part of this community: one where you feel as though you are part of a big family. As we prepare to take the next step, it is beneficial to receive this advice because going to a new school can feel isolating at times, but you will always find your people.
Mr. Smith continued to share, “I never would picture myself working in an all-girls high school. I grew up in South Jersey and I didn’t even know all-girls schools existed. It was very random, but it was really like a beam of light shining down on me saying, ‘alright let’s get you out of this bad situation.’” It was so interesting to hear about the Mount experience from not only a teacher’s perspective but a male teacher’s perspective specifically. Not only are we placed in a safe environment at an all-girls school, but it allows us to have a place where we can be ourselves while learning to be “okay with being uncomfortable.”
We learned that Mr. Smith is a proud ultimate frisbee champion, passionate musician, chef, and animal lover with not only interests in Spanish, but psychology as well! Mr. Smith beams proudly as he tells us, “I was also a psych major in college, in addition to studying Spanish and teaching!” We are so excited to welcome Mr. Smith into our Mount community, and we know his well-rounded personality and vibrant spirit will truly be a great addition. And who knows? Hopefully, we can expect an ultimate frisbee club led by Mr. Smith and Trainer Nico soon!

Please share our stories: