A K-12 Treasure: Aaron “Schotty” Schottenfeld


Photo by Macy Puckett

Schottenfeld playing charades with students

Ryan Stokes, Staff Writer

Aaron Schottenfeld strides into fifth period, hat on, briefcase in hand, ready to take on a new class of students. Tasked with handling new courses every day, the demanding job of a substitute teacher requires adaptability, confidence, patience, and most importantly, a sense of humor.

Schottenfeld has been substituting in different school districts since 2012. He eventually settled down at PUSD in 2017.

“I think I vibe with the students pretty well here. There’s a lot of intellectual interests that I share, it’s also a relatively small district so I get to know the students and teachers,” Schottenfeld said.

Schottenfeld said that over the years, he’s adopted a nickname from the Piedmont students, “Schotty.” 

“I remember the girl who first did it , I don’t remember her name right now but it was in middle school, and it just popped out of her mouth,” Schottenfeld said.

He said he initially disliked the nickname and told students to stop using it, but he now appreciates it.

“It feels like a (term) of endearment,” Schottenfeld said. 

Junior Oliver Amen agreed that Schottenfeld has endeared himself to many students. 

“He’s the GOAT (greatest of all time),” Amen said.

Schottenfeld said that he enjoys the unique aspects of substituting that allows him many views into the district.

“One morning I’ll be doing PE for high school and then the next morning I’ll do art for kindergarten, and then [I’ll] teach math to a fifth grade class,” Schottenfeld said. 

Although he said he does not have a favorite class, he said that some do give him trouble. 

“I’m a bit challenged by math above trigonometry, but I really do enjoy keeping abreast with what high school students are learning now,” Schottenfeld said.

Schottenfeld said that he has taken to reading during classes where students are doing independent work. 

“It’s usually the teacher’s book,” Schottenfeld said. 

He said that he suggests that students read The Secret History by Donna Tart.

“It’s about a group of Greek and classical students in college in the northeast, and there’s some murder mystery twisted all up in it as well,” Schottenfeld said.

Schottenfeld said he also suggests that students read medieval literature. He said he enjoys indulging in books dating back to 13th century France. 

“I don’t know if I would recommend that for easy reading, but there’s some really great stories that came out of that time in France and England, Arthurian romance,” Schottenfeld said.

Schottenfeld said he also writes in his time off. 

“I come from a family of artists. I’m not a visual artist but I do keep a diary in my spare time,” Schottenfeld said. “I also do improv, I used to do it in person with a group and then the pandemic happened and I did it online.” 

Shottenfeld played soccer and track in high school, and now participates in open play pickleball in Piedmont.