Teacher profile: Mr. Coco, 6th-grade English teacher

New teacher at Prep loves to sing

Mr. Coco

Marilyn Perez

Mr. Steven Coco is in his first year at Passaic Prep.

Mr. Steven Coco is a 6th-grade English teacher in Room B4. He went to college at Rutgers University and has three years of teaching experience. This is his first year at Passaic Prep. Whenever students are asked what he’s like, they always seem to say he’s a person who often sings during, before and after class. Passing by his class after school, you can often hear him singing. 

Mr. Coco sat down to answer some questions from The Boulevard Online:


The Boulevard Online: What inspired you to teach?

Mr. Coco: My English teacher for four years, Ms. Florio, and my junior/senior teachers Mr. Heffernan and Mr. Meizys inspired me. Florio taught Slaughterhouse-Five, which is a book that made me love reading. Heff and Meizys taught me history as if there were actual stakes to the events and people, not just dates, facts, and numbers. 

These were the smartest and most understanding adults I knew when I was a teenager. They believed teaching made the world a better place because they were molding better thinkers and writers.  

Now, I believe the same thing. 

Also, my dad is a child psychologist that does public service for families and children at a hospital. My brother works as a prosecutor, a lawyer for the state. So like my dad and brother, I wanted to serve the public in some way. I just wanted to help and inspire kids in seeing the value in books and learning as a way of making the hard parts of their lives a bit more digestible.


TBO: Where did you grow up and what was it like?

Mr. Coco: Allendale in Bergen County. Allendale popped up in the New York Times recently as a “Low-Profile, Walkable Suburb 25 miles away from Manhattan.”  

I was lucky to be born and raised there, but I did not like 90% of it. The other 10% I loved contained my friends, my family, and my teachers.


Mr. Coco
Marilyn Perez

TBO: Do you have any fun memories from the pandemic?

Mr. Coco: During the pandemic, I helped raise my newborn nephew for six months. My sister and I just laughed and panicked while changing diapers and cajoling him to roll over.  I still have songs from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood tattooed into my brain that I hope will one day be erased.   


TBO: What are you passionate about?

Mr. Coco: Movies, books, music, and history. I read every night. I listen to podcasts and history books on the way to and from work. Love listening to music at the gym, in the classroom before school starts, and in my kitchen. I read at night and on the weekends. 

I’m trying to build a writing routine now to write my own stories and essays. I want to practice what I preach.  


TBO: What accomplishment fills you with pride so far this year?

Mr. Coco: I got a simple one: 

Somebody asked me to find a book that matched the vibe of a show they love. I researched and read reviews. Ordered it from Amazon that night. I give it to them to borrow when it arrives. Next day, they come back with a smile on their face and say, “I read 80 pages last night. I love it.”

That made my week. 


Mr. Coco
Marilyn Perez

TBO: What are the best and worst things about being a teacher?

Mr. Coco: Best thing: The students.

Worst thing: Coming home tired.


TBO: What is your dream vacation?

Mr. Coco: I would want to go on a trip from Scotland to Sicily via train with an unlimited budget and a bottomless stomach.


TBO: What would the students be surprised to find out about you?

Mr. Coco: I love cooking. I make pretty mean gumbo. One day, I have to bring in some Pasta Carbonara for all my classes. 


TBO: What is your favorite band?

Mr. Coco: Titus Andronicus. They are a Jersey punk band.


TBO: If you could trade lives with anyone for a day who would it be and why?

Mr. Coco: Daniel Day-Lewis, the greatest actor of all time. He seems to have a nice fulfilling life because he’s the best at acting but has no real-life drama. Also, he works once every five years.