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Steven Zelubowski has been teaching languages as Mount Greylock Regional School in Williamstown for five years.
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Teacher of the Month: Steven Zelubowski

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
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Zelubowski's students say he makes his classes interesting and connects history and language.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Mount Greylock Regional School world language teacher Steven Zelubowski has been selected as the May Teacher of the Month. 
Zelubowski's recognition kicks off the second season of the Teacher of the Month series, which is in collaboration with Berkshire Community College. 
The series will run for the next 12 months and will feature distinguished teachers nominated by community members. Nominate a teacher here
Zelubowski has been a teacher for nine years and has been working in Mount Greylock Regional School's World Languages Department teaching Latin for five.
He not only knows Latin but also speaks Greek, Italian conversationally, and German academically and conversationally.
Zelubowski has wanted to be a Latin teacher since he was a sophomore in high school when he was inspired by his Latin teacher at Portsmouth High School, Joe Arnstein. 
"He was extremely engaging and funny and had high expectations on the students, but he was always able to capture our attention with anecdotes and getting us involved in the conversation, getting us thinking about what it was we were learning, and just incredibly engaging character," he said.
Now that he is a teacher, he is doing the same for his students. 
A couple of years ago, Zelubowski took over the Latin department and since then has really jumped into it feet first, Principal Jacob Schutz said 
Mount Greylock Regional runs a full program from Latin in the middle school to Advanced Placement Latin. Students take the National Latin Exam, and are active in the Junior Classical League (JCL), Schutz said. 
Zelubowski brings Latin to life, "and students really take to his style of instruction and his personality," he said. 
Teaching Latin can be challenging, so Zelubowski reaches the students where they are, challenges them, and instills his passion for the language in his students, Schutz said.
"He makes everyone feel involved. I feel like he will make sure everyone understands everything, and if you don't, he'll talk to you one-on-one and make sure you understand," freshman Timothy Karampatsos said. 
Zelubowski is currently working on completing his master's degree in Classics Studies from Villanova University. He expects to complete his degree in August. 
Latin is a beautiful collision of the two things Zelubowski loves — languages and expression and Greco-Roman history and culture. 
"When you love what you're doing, you just do so much better at it. So, when he makes it fun and instills the passion, it makes that content really sink in," Schutz said 
Zelubowski said he loves that he gets to teach language, grammar, vocabulary, and linguistics, in addition to Roman history, literature, and philosophy. 
Understanding Latin helps students understand language and expression and helps students find their voice, he said. 
"I want to create an environment of academic curiosity and intellectual rigor. That is my goal, at least," he said. 
"I like to have us think about the important questions and then figure out how to support our answers. I want to create an environment where everybody can sort of bounce ideas off each other, bounce proofs off each other, bounce arguments off each other."
Each student has different strengths, and by collaborating, they can piece together and translate the language, Zelubowski said. 
"I think his classroom is proven to be very like safe, uplifting space, where students can connect with the course material and with each other in, I think, a really, really impactful way," senior Grace Malone said.
"Everyone knows everyone, it's kind of like a small community. I mean, in our class, we have a lot of Latin twos and threes, so we all connect through different grades, too," Karampatsos said.
Latin teaches students to look at things through a different lens and access an entire culture through understanding its language, he said. 
"I think he's provoked a lot of really introspective thought and has really opened my eyes a lot to the classical world and antiquity, and different ways in which the world works, and how language is formed, which I think has helped me in kind of all aspects of my academic career," Malone said.
Latin gives students access to a world of new information and creative pieces. 
"Learning Latin gives us access to some of these most important and beautiful pieces of literature that you could possibly imagine," Zelubowski said. 
"And engaging those in the original text gives us a unique opportunity to understand and appreciate art on a different level."
Students expressed that they feel their teacher is a big part of their educational journey both in and out of the classroom, whether it's through the clubs such as the JCL and the Philosophy Club, or how the material seeps into other classes. 
"I really think he just wants the best for his students and for the entirety of the school and he's giving options for everybody to do that," senior Jackie Brannan said. 
Brannan said Zelubowski connects with the students and is willing to listen to them, whether it is about Latin or other topics the students are interested in or concerned about. 
Many of his students had Zelubowski early on in their educational career at Mount Greylock Regional, so over the years, he has been able to build relationships with them. 
"We've had him since seventh grade, and I think he's really starting to love us, and we love him. He's a really kind teacher," freshman Leo Slater Lee said. 
"He's lenient on work, and he tries to emphasize that grades aren't everything, but it matters more to learn the things [and] to actually learn the value of the content."
When it comes to testing, Zelubowski ensures that his students understand everything before the test, Karampatsos said.
The material the students are learning in Zelubowski's class informs what they are learning in other classes, students said. 
In English, students study vocabulary words, and oftentimes, they do not know them. However, with a background in Latin, you can know the root of the word, which helps them understand the meaning of the words, Lee said. 
For example, the Latin word carcer, which means jail. Knowing that helped Lee understand the root word for incarcerate, he said. 

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