Biology teacher dedicates time and energy to his students


Photo: Edona Banulla

Steven Cotrone shows his passion for Biology by using a visual cell structure. This cell overtakes his classroom and gives his students a closeup look at all of the things he is teaching.

By Kaylee Anstaett, Fairmont Life editor

Being a high school teacher is very different than most professions. It takes a love for working with kids, a mastery of multiple content areas, extra work outside of the standard school hours, constant renewal of licenses and certifications and having to teach in front of an audience on a daily basis.  

Steven Cotrone has been teaching Biology at Fairmont for 20 years. He is known for his enthusiasm and unique teaching methods within his classroom. More so, Cotrone is also recognized as one of those teachers who is always present, taking on numerous duties and extra roles, being at Fairmont at all hours of the day. 

From an early age, Cotrone knew that teaching was something he was interested in and something that could be a good fit for the goals in which he set for himself.

“Since I was in high school, I knew that I wanted to try to become a teacher. I thought of all the careers there are where you serve others and make a difference,” Cotrone said.

Something that Cotrone has had success with throughout his teaching career is using more visuals and hands on learning strategies, as opposed to just lecturing and auditory type instruction. 

“I always strive to make learning easier for students by making it more visual,” Cotrone said.

He has a large cell structure that he made on the ceiling of his classroom as a visual for his students. He believes that seeing this large diagram in the classroom can help the student’s performance and understanding of the content he is teaching. The students literally sit underneath and inside of the cell during his class period. 

Cotrone enjoys teaching biology because biology it is constantly changing. He is able to teach new things from year to year and incorporate new material, rather than just the same ideals and theories. Being a master in this field, he keeps up with the ever changing planet and ensures that he is teaching students valuable content. 

Along with teaching, Cotrone is also in charge of putting together the Holiday at Home float. Each year, Fairmont participates in Kettering’s Labor Day Parade by building a float. Cotrone began building floats for his church in 1997, so his expertise and experience has helped him along the way. But before Cotrone took over, Roger Bauser a former Fairmont teacher and activities director lead the way in this department. 

“Roger asked me if I would take over the float building job from him, and that was an easy yes,” Cotrone said.

He continues to do the float every year because he feels that it is a great way to start the new school year on a positive note, getting students involved and spreading school spirit. Cotrone is able to come up with a lot of the ideas on his own and enjoys working with students in a different role, not just as a classroom teacher. 

“I think about the ideas throughout the year. When I meet with the kids who help with it, I try to share my enthusiasm with them,” Cotrone said.

Fairmont Class Council members and the United Student Body members assist Cotrone every year in building the float. Many of those students also walk in the parade or ride on the float when appropriate with Cotrone. 

“A lot of the ideas for the float come from my head. I try to think mostly what a little kid thinks is cool coming down the street,” Cotrone said.

Central Unit principal, Andrew White, values teachers like Cotrone who have a love for their job and show it on a daily basis. 

“He’s a creative guy and does a ton of varied methods to get kids to picture, imagine and experience biology,” White said.

Cotrone is up to date with advanced technology and new teaching practices and strives to incorporate new methods with his students. He uses PolyCom, models what he is teaching and uses a variety of projects to help his students reach their potential. 

“He has a true genuine value for  learning. I see him meeting with students before school, after school and during his plan period,” White said.

Not only is he viewed as a great teacher, but he also is a great person. He gets along very well with his colleagues and has built a great rapport with his current and former students. 

“On a personal level, I think Mr. Cotrone is very affable and has a good sense of humor,” White said.

Cotrone is able to work with students of all learning abilities, making him a desirable teacher at Fairmont. “He’s had a variety of students. He’s had very high students and students below college prep. He has a great passion for his subject matter and he wants all students to learn,” White said.

Cotrone cares about his students on multiple levels. To a teacher, kids aren’t just ‘students.’ Cotrone views them as young people, regardless of their grade in his class or their interest in science. He wants his students to be successful in all realms of life and to appreciate their educational experience. 

“Hopefully they will remember my enthusiasm for biology and for conveying the awesomeness of life on this planet,” Cotrone said.