Hometown: South Shore, Kentucky
Colleges: Georgetown College (Kentucky), University of Notre Dame; University of Oxford (UK); Marquette University
Degrees: Bachelor’s in History; Master’s in Liturgical Studies; Master’s in Applied Theology; Ph.D Candidate in Theology
Favorite Class in High School: English
Kyle Potter loves teaching theology because it makes a difference in people’s lives. Potter is working on his Ph.D at Marquette University and has taught college courses for the past three years.
Through his doctoral program, Potter met STM Theology Chair Paul Pasquesi, who is also pursuing a Ph.D. With long-term substitute needed for the theology department, Pasquesi invited Potter to apply for the position. Potter was surprised how much he enjoyed teaching high school students, and when a permanent position opened at STM, he jumped at the opportunity.
His favorite part about teaching high school students is promoting lifelong learning. Potter teaches students to read with intention, challenging them to ask questions about what they read, think critically about their faith, and to take advantage of the knowledge they are acquiring. He encourages students to interpret scripture, especially the gospels, not only in the context of Jesus’s time but to consider how those lessons can help them conquer the challenges that face them in their own lives.
To help students retain this knowledge throughout their lives, Potter emphasizes student participation in his classes. “I know that students have learned something when they can talk about it,” Potter explained. By planning and giving presentations, students can share their knowledge with their peers while gaining a deeper understanding of the material than they would through instructor-led lectures.
Potter often integrates the values of service and leadership into his lesson plans. For Potter, service and leadership means paying attention to somebody long enough to understand what they mean. “As French philosopher Simone Weil said, ‘Attention is the rarest form of love’,” Potter said. “In order to serve others, we must first learn more about them and understand what they care about. We must show up to people not as a fixer but as a learner.”