Patty Sautters, a social studies and religion teacher at St. Thomas Aquinas High School and Middle School, is The Alliance Review’s Make the Grade Teacher of the Month for May.
Name: Patty Sautters
School: St. Thomas Aquinas High School and Middle School.
Job: Sixth grade teacher, social studies and religion.
College: Bowling Green State University.
Family: Husband, Gary; daughter, Hillary; sons, Todd and Tyler; granddaughter, Trudy, and another granddaughter on the way. My son Todd has followed in the family footsteps as a high school social studies teacher.
How many years have you been with this district? I have been with the Diocese of Youngstown for 40 years, teaching grades five through eight, and five years at STA Middle School teaching grades six to eight.
What is the most rewarding part of your job? I always say I’m going “to school,” not “to work.” I have always loved what I do. Not that there haven’t been some rough years, but those are quickly forgotten. In the years that I have been an educator, I have witnessed many changes with curriculum, teaching methods and students learning styles. As I adapt to those changes, I’m always learning, too.
What is the most challenging part of your job? Keeping up with the current culture of the students today is very challenging. There are so many media outlets — YouTube, social media like Instagram and Snapchat, among others, and so many uncensored cable TV channels available all hours of the day and night — that teens become desensitized to the realities of our world and people.
If you weren’t doing this, you would be ...: Honestly, I would be retired traveling around the world. That time is not yet, but I can still dream about traveling! I have always wanted to be a teacher from the very beginning.
Tell us something about the students you work with that most people don’t know or appreciate: Our students come from so many socio-economic backgrounds, and that brings such a richness to our classes. All students are able to learn, and I have to find the one way that clicks with each one.
How do you unwind after a long day of work? I love to read, watch sports in person and on TV, travel, go to concerts and garden.
Students and co-workers would be surprised to know: I went on my first cruise to Bermuda last summer. I love Disney and traveling to Disney World with family and friends.
What is one responsibility about your position that you didn’t know before taking the job? How much paperwork is involved in teaching. It is more than grading papers and doing lesson plans, but also filling out student assessments, planning for special services for students. One benefit for teachers is using online grading/report cards.