Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The Middle School

Lots of things have happened since January 1st...the biggest news has been Brett taking a job with Memphis City Schools. Mom was watching the 10 o'clock news one Saturday night and noticed that there had been a job fair where they had interviewed reading and math teachers. Brett called and found out they were still hiring teachers. He accepted a position as a reading teacher. He was placed at Longview Middle School. Now, most people don't know where Longview is because it's in the ghetto (the southeast corner of the I-40/240 loop). He went through one day of orientation and then received his classroom. However, when he arrived at Longview, they said, "Well, we really need a digital photography teacher. Do you know anything about that?" Even though Brett was hired with "No Child Left Behind" money to teaching reading...he is teaching digital media to middle school, low income students. He did an attitude interest survey and discovered that of all his students, only about ten of them had ever taken a photo with a digital camera. His classes vary from a typing class to learning to use computers to create presentations (microsoft word, powerpoint, etc.) His school has been challenging yet exactly where he wanted to be teaching. This middle school was the lowest achieving school last year and was therefore declared a "fresh start" school. This means that they fired all the teachers, sent their best principal there, and gave him the authority to rehire only those he wanted. He chose four teachers to return. Also, the school is participating in a program sponsored by Apple computers known as "One to One." Each student has an apple ibook (a laptop, for all you pc people). One of Brett's biggest challenges has been overcoming what the previous teacher left behind disciplinary wise. He was a favored teacher among the students because he basically let them do whatever they wanted. Brett has faced many different discipline problems but has full support of his principal, Mr. Harris, and that makes all the difference. Several days Brett would come home physically and emotionally tired. He discovered one day on the way to work that God would not have given him this job if he could not handle it. This thought has helped him deal with the strains of working in the inner city. And we praise God for the job and the stability it provides.