An inside look at an inspiring and entertaining educator

“Teaching can be frustrating, because it’s inherently difficult; but I get the chance to try again over and over, and sometimes, eventually, something works, and it feels great for everyone in the classroom.”

Edric Parker, Opinions Editor

If you travel to the first or second floor, you are almost certain to see English and Creative Writing teacher Mr. Brown. With his signature laugh, wise words, and inviting personality, he has had a positive influence on the many students he’s taught. Mr. Brown is from Norton, Massachusetts and was a student teacher at Northampton before starting his teaching career at West Side in 2009. However, before pursuing a teaching career, the Dartmouth College graduate worked as a woodworker in Vermont. He then traveled to work in Barbados. After Barbados, his career as a woodworker moved him back to the area and then to New York. Looking back on his woodworking job, Brown said he enjoyed creating things but knew he needed something more. “It wasn’t enough of an intellectual challenge,” he recalled. When he started his job as a teacher, he was looking for a career that was more creative and mentally

Don’t let the picture fool you. English teacher Mr. Brown teaches with an open mind, open heart, and, at times, open mouth.

stimulating. Over the years, he has taught his students about life and literature but he has also learned a lot from them. Brown said that through his students, he has learned new music and learned about different cultures. “Everyone has a different story and you never fully know about someone until you know their story,” Brown said. When it comes to dealing with difficult students, Brown’s approach is about understanding and respect. “Everybody wants to learn, and if a student feels they don’t have a chance to learn in your class they’ll act out. Being honest with them and struggling with them will show them that you’re trying. Overall, that helps and leaves an impact.” He believes that teaching is about building relationships, and however difficult that may be, it is crucial to learning.”You’re going to have to see the person everyday so you gotta find a way you can both connect and get along to make it through the year.” Since this was his first teaching job, everything Mr. Brown has done so far is new. For Mr. Brown, being a part of Terrier House and working with his colleagues has given him many lesson plans and ideas that he can implement into his classroom. His students keep him motivated every day. “Getting to know students, learning about the experiences and ideas they bring to class with them keeps me going. Kids are amazing, and West Side has a lot of students with wildly different backgrounds,” he said. Mr. Brown also enjoys working with colleagues to help students be successful even if that means taking a lesson that bombed and figuring out why it didn’t work, and then making it better. “Teaching can be frustrating, because it’s inherently difficult; but I get the chance to try again over and over, and sometimes, eventually, something works, and it feels great for everyone in the classroom.” He enjoys the opportunity to have a job that allows him to work with students as they challenge themselves and help them learn to do things they didn’t think believe they were capable of. It’s all about growth. Throughout Brown’s time here, no big moments stand out in his memory. Instead, there are many small, memorable moments of students putting in extra effort, discovering something new, and having interesting classroom discussions where everyone is involved. “In our classroom discussions we often let our opinions towards literature and characters be known. It’s extremely interesting when all of our ideas bring us to a deeper level in our discussion and connect what we are learning to a bigger picture. Mr. Brown really makes us look at how books, even short stories can hide such deep concepts in such a few paragraphs or words,” said freshman Gabrielle Daley. So far there’s been nothing but good reviews about his class from satisfied students, and because of his creativity and love for Shakespeare you will get more than just a common lesson from him. In fact, it’s certain that you’ll be able to teach him something new.