Presentando Señor Helm

%E2%80%9CIn+every+single+job+that+I+had%2C+I+ended+up+as+a+trainer+of+a+coach%2C+which+is+essentially+someone+who+teaches+people+how+to+do+things%2C%E2%80%9D+Helm+said.%0A

Elijah Kriwinsky

“In every single job that I had, I ended up as a trainer of a coach, which is essentially someone who teaches people how to do things,” Helm said.

Topher Helm teaches Spanish 1, 2 and 4 at the high school and Spanish 1 at the middle school. 

Helm feels welcomed by the BHS staff.

“The faculty is ridiculously helpful…everybody has been super kind and they go out of their way to check in and see if I’m doing okay,” he said. “The students, I think, have been a little shy…because you hear about teachers from older siblings but nobody knows me.”

Helm graduated from George Mason University in 2013 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish and French. He then got his Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Cleveland State University in 2019. 

In college, Helm studied abroad in the Universidad Complutense de Madrid during the summer between his freshman and sophomore years. During his stay, he and his classmates took Spanish language and culture classes from morning to noon and then took the train ride back to their rooms for a big lunch meal and siesta, which is a nap usually taken in the afternoon. 

“It was a really beautiful thing,” he said. “Even though there’s this hustle-and-bustle in a big city, everything was so relaxed. There wasn’t the level of stress that I feel like is so present in the United States…so experiencing something different in Spain was really amazing.”

“Studying abroad gave me a sense of how big and how different the world really is,” he said “Everybody who studies abroad always tells you that you will go through a culture shock. It’s all the little things that are just a little bit different that add up.”

Helm is also an avid language learner. Aside from Spanish, he also used to be fluent in French but hasn’t used the language as much since he graduated. However, he is currently relearning French through podcasts and books, in addition to improving his Spanish every day and taking Mandarin classes on Saturdays. 

The lovely thing about a language is that you teach the language but you can also talk about anything in the world like the arts, science, and technology. The goal is to explore the culture, and we use language as a tool to help us do that.”

— Spanish Teacher Topher Helm

He has worked in the restaurant industry, retail management, and later switched careers to Spanish. His first job was as a Pizza Hut waiter when he was 15, which he hated. Before coming to work at Beachwood, Helm taught Spanish 1, 2, and 3 at Brunswick for two years. 

Helm always found himself gravitating to the position of a teacher.

“In every single job that I had, I ended up as a trainer of a coach, which is essentially someone who teaches people how to do things,” he said.

Helm is excited about getting to know the faculty and students at BHS.

“I want to be a better teacher and to constantly improve,” he said. “I’d love to do a travel program in the summer where we go to Spain or Mexico or Costa Rica. I also want to finish my Master’s in Spanish so I can be certified to teach AP as an option. I’d love to be able to grow the program to have even more kids taking Spanish.

Helm chose to work at Beachwood because of the nice area and facility. He also values inclusivity and diversity, and as an LGBT educator, he didn’t want his identity to be judged. 

In his classes, Helm picks one task to focus on each day, like working on Spanish listening or learning about a Spanish-speaking culture. 

“The lovely thing about a language is that you teach the language but you can also talk about anything in the world like the arts, science, and technology,” he said. “The goal is to explore the culture, and we use language as a tool to help us do that.” 

In addition to teaching, Helm is advising the freshman class.

Helm was born in Hagatna, Guam, an island that spans about two miles in the Mariana Islands. He now resides in Lakewood, Ohio, where he enjoys running marathons, books, podcasts of current Spanish events, dogs, and being a part of AFOL (Adult fan of LEGO) in his free time. 

He attended Itawamba Agricultural High School in Mississippi and moved to Alexandria, Virginia during his Junior year where he graduated from Thomas Alva Edison High School. He participated in STEM team competitions, played mellophone and clarinet in band, and was a part of the thespian society during his senior year. 

Helm’s favorite books are Tuesdays with Morrie and the Harry Potter series. His favorite movie is Sister Act. He loves musicals like Rent, Waitress, and Wicked. He also loves to listen to French songs, his favorite being Je Suis Malade by Laura Fabian.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email