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Taking an online class from Veteran Steven Soares is an immersive experience, thanks to his own desire to learn and his passion for teaching others. “Whether I’m at my job or with friends, there is always something I can learn from others, and there’s always something they can learn from me,” he remarks. “Teaching never really ends.” An expert in project management, Soares teaches a number of online courses for the Graduate Certificate in Project Management.
Soares’ daily routine, developed over a decade of teaching for the School, reflects his passion for teaching. He works at the U.S. Department of Education in the Office of The Chief Financial Officer leading the Data Analytics Team. Previously, he worked at the secretariat level at the Washington Navy Yard, where he ensured audit readiness and oversaw financial improvement programs for travel-related programs. Every day, he wakes early, so that he can check in with his students before work, monitors their progress during his lunch break, and returns online during the evening. “I’m continually conversing with them,” he says.
His immersive approach to teaching also reflects his understanding that good teaching involves challenging student assumptions. “Even though they are taking coursework because they want to change, adult learners are sometimes set in their ways,” he observes. “As a teacher, you have to decide where you want to take your students and guide them along that path by challenging them with new ideas and different ways to view situations.” Consequently, he uses every opportunity to respond to students with comments, questions, and suggestions for further reading.
His knowledge and enthusiasm can make an immediate difference for his students. “I have had students submit projects that they developed in one of my classes to their managers and have them accepted,” he says. “At this point, they’ve moved to the sweet spot where theory and practical application meet.”