Noodle Expert Aaron Smith tells us about the importance of relaxing in Nags Head, North Carolina, learning from Albert Einstein, and not giving up on what you care about.
Who would you pick, alive or dead, to be your teacher for a year? What would you want to learn?
If I could have someone teach me for a year, I would like for it to be Albert Einstein. His life is a story of ups and downs, and even in the midst of controversy, he continued to excel in his work. From his theory of relativity to his countless papers he was (and still is) a visionary. Einstein took it upon himself to combine many subjects and advance the world of science and mathematics. We still use many of his concepts today. We need more Albert Einsteins who are not afraid to be visionaries and risk-takers in order to benefit humanity and the world in which we live each and every day.
What is one small piece of advice that has had a big impact on your life?
Refuse to give up on what you care about the most. It is something that I identified with when I was playing baseball in high school and in college. This small but powerful statement often reminds me to stop and take notice, because not every outcome is the way we anticipate it. Even at work today, I still find myself saying this statement over and over again. Not quitting makes us stronger and more resilient for the next challenge to come along in our lives.
Where would you send a student who hasn't traveled before?
For a student who has never travelled before, I would recommend visiting Nags Head, NC. It is so refreshing to get out on the beach and relax with the wind and sun in your face. There she can spend countless hours in the ocean swimming, surfing, or even soaking up some Vitamin D while she is curled up with a good book. Other places that she could visit while staying at Nags Head include the lighthouses, a branch of the North Carolina Aquariums, Hatteras Island, and of course the shops. This is a phenomenal retreat for anyone who needs to recharge her batteries.
When was a time that you failed academically, and what did you learn from the experience?
In order to be a teacher in Virginia, you are required to take tests called the Praxis I. Within the Praxis I, there are three sub-tests: the reading test, the writing test, and the math test. As a math major, the math section was rather easy to me and I passed that part the first time I took the test. However, the reading and writing continued to challenge me. In fact, they challenged me the next 11 times I tried until I passed them both. What I learned from this experience is that we all have weaknesses, and we shouldn't let our dreams be shattered by the challenges that come before us. If you want something badly enough, refuse to accept failure and continue to strive for your dreams. With some blood, sweat, and tears, dreams can come true.
Why did you go into your field, and how is it different from what you expected?
I went into education to be a math teacher and a baseball coach. That gave me the best of both worlds. With baseball and softball running through my veins, I was able to play through my students. And when I was off the field, I was able to show my classes how math worked and why we all needed to use math on a daily basis. As much as I enjoyed the sport, I found that my true passion was as a teacher and that I had a great responsibility to give my students my best each and every day. To this day, I still love working with students — helping them solve problems and fulfill their dreams so that they can be successful in any endeavor they choose in life.