Chaos is Everywhere: Captain Aceves’ Teacher Spotlight


Lilly Santangelo-St. Martin

After spending their entire life in San Dimas, Calif., fourth year teacher Anthony Aceves manifested their way to Portland.

“I’ve always liked the area, the community, the vibe,” Aceves said. 

It has been a goal of theirs to live in Portland. They traveled from California to Portland to play with The Oregon Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps throughout their junior year of college as an undergraduate.   

After a year and a half of persistently encouraging their partner to transfer jobs from Santa Cruz up to Portland, Aceves’ hopes and dreams became a reality this past June.

In high school, Aceves experienced their first role of leadership through the marching band, where they were a section leader. 

“I would say my band teacher is the first person to ever give me the opportunity to be a teacher,” they said. 

Even though they had been exposed to leading, being a high school science teacher was not their goal in life. 

“Teaching was never the game plan, I wanted to be a musician,” they explained. 

Due to their background and lack of support from their family, a career as a musician was not practical. Their parents encouraged them to become a doctor, but they were never interested in that field.  

“I was like ‘No, I don’t wanna be a doctor, I wanna look at animals,’” they noted. 

Aceves’ first year of teaching high school was half online because of the pandemic. When asked to describe their first year as a teacher, they admitted, “[For] lack of better words, it was a sh*tshow.” 

Everything was a surprise for Aceves when they began their career as an educator. They felt that they were ill prepared for teaching high schoolers. However, because of their experience with teaching both online and in person, Aceves states that they have become better at adapting to unexpected situations and chaos. 

For them, finding solutions to climate change is part of their mission as a teacher. 

 “I teach biology through an environmental science lens,” they said. 

Aceves believes wholeheartedly in what they are teaching their students. They feel that their job as a science teacher is to remind people to keep fighting for the earth as climate change is destroying it.

“We need to figure it out together, we inherited a huge problem, nobody is going to fix it but us,” they said.

Aceves wants their students to understand that they are sensitive and sometimes, they feel that they care too much. 

“I don’t let things bother me, I’ve learned to develop a pretty thick skin,” they explained. “Chaos is going to happen in the classroom and how you choose to let it affect you will determine your success.” 

Aceves added that this mindset assists them while teaching high school students.

They expressed though their lack of enthusiasm towards reprimanding students. 

“When it becomes dysfunctional, I hate having to step in and be the moderator,” they said.

For Aceves, having students that recognize them in the hallways or taking another class with them is the most rewarding part of being a teacher. 

“Being able to see people in the hallway and seeing that smile–they know who you are,” they noted, “and it’s a reciprocated feeling, I care about all my students.” 

Aceves is always happy to know they have had some sort of impact on their students.