About the author: I’m an educator and avid reader.
Updated Spring 2021.
I’ve been teaching in Utah since 2008. Back then, I was a grad student in Philosophy, and my research interests included in Ethics, Political Philosophy (focusing on Egalitarianism), and Moral Psychology. Universal Basic Income was my jam before it was cool (of course surfers should be fed). Some of my focus was on teaching pedagogy, but most of my education in that area has come since I left academia back in 2013. These days, the core of my being is devoted to student engagement, particularly through game psychology, and to teaching Holocaust Studies.
I speak most years at one conference or another. Recent years have found me sharing what I’ve developed for my classroom at the National Council for the Social Studies (2018), the state chapter of the NCSS (2019), or at the Association for Middle Level Education conference (2019, 2020). I’ve gamified my classroom, developed choose-your-own adventure units of study, led middle school students to spot and analyze propaganda, turned what I knew about education upside down to handle a rapid change at the start of the 2020 pandemic, and have settled back down as I realize that the changes I made to adapt to that circumstance were changes I should have been making anyhow. I’ve shared some of this through an article at Education Week magazine. Through all of this, I have strived helped others to find joy in learning as best I’m able at every opportunity.
As a personal educational coach, I also work one-on-one with students who benefit from such support and personalized planning and attention as I can provide, and you should reach out to me about this if you think this might be what you or your student needs. We can do personalized lessons in the humanities or social sciences, but we can also do coaching in the sense of finding out what kind of learner you are, what your needs are, and/or planning for your success. Let me know how I can help!
I meet regularly with educators from across the country with whom I’ve spoken and gotten to know via our professional learning circles on twitter, and I regularly check in with #MSChat, #UTedchat, #XPLAP, as well as others. More than a few times, I’ve been able to get specialized assistance or to help someone else with a pedagogical, research, or tech challenge we’re handling in our challenging profession. I am grateful to those communities.
Before moving to Utah, I received a B.A. in 2006 from Washington & Jefferson College and a Master of Arts in the Humanities in 2007 from the University of Chicago. I found my way to living in the Rockies back in June 2008, and I earned a M.S. in Philosophy from the University of Utah. I have been teaching in college and middle school classrooms since January of the year I made my big move west.
Were I to return to the academy, it would be for a Ph.D. in Education, History, or MFA in Creative Writing, which I spend a thousand or more hours on each year (right now, I’m querying for a YA spy book set in `65 East Berlin). Most of all, I want to learn, and I want to share what I learn with others. I should be back in school by 2024… we’ll see! Writing a nonfiction book for kids on a subject that I know a lot about – the Cold War, secret police, or some such – that’s another goal.
Apart from honing my teaching skills, I’m an avid hockey fan and retired recreational player (concussions have brought my illustrious career to an end). I root for the Pittsburgh Penguins, but I like the sport enough to watch the teams that aren’t the Pens. I love living in the Rockies and try to get in as much hiking, climbing, and skiing as I am able. I’ve toyed with the idea of doing some local hiking guiding. In 2012, I was most challenged by Mt Olympus in the Wasatch Mountains; I’m still hankering for my first 13’er, King’s Peak – the highest peak in Utah and about a 4-day excursion. My long-term hiking goal is to cover the Washington and Oregon sections of the Pacific Crest Trail. I’d also like to spend some time hiking Glacier National Park and the Colorado Trail. As for climbing, I stick to rocks nearest the ground, and I can be found on lowly V1-V3 bouldering problems, in and out of the gym.
I also really enjoy traveling – be it by plane, boat, or train, and I spend as little money as possible in my everyday life so I can visit someplace new and exciting each year. My favorite destination so far has been Switzerland (photos from my Matterhorn hike pictured above), and my favorite “I’d love to live there” destination is always Germany. I also like sitting on beaches and reading The Economist news magazine – preferably simultaneously. Now that I have kids, my number one travel goal is to take them to all of the places they dream of seeing – Naxos, Berlin, Prague, Paris, and Rome. These are places I know and love, and I can’t wait to share that with them.
I haven’t included an email address due to spam harvesters collecting and using my email anywhere it appears, but you can definitely reach me at stevecaponejr at gmail or by following me on twitter (@CaponeTeaches) and reaching out to me there.
Interested in knowing more about my professional development pursuits? You can find them here.