Q A Brisini
October 11, 2022
What is your favorite thing about teaching and what pushed you to come back?
My favorite thing about teaching is really getting to know the students day in and day out, which is one of the reasons why I decided to come back to teaching. I really like to see students on day one where typically they don’t know a ton about the subject or class they’re in and then you talk to them the last day, and hopefully they’ve grown and learned a lot not just in class but also what they’ve learned outside of class too. I liked administration, it was cool, but I really missed that day to day interaction with the students. Administration is different, it’s a lot of organization, prioritizing things and getting big agendas, idea, and initiatives in the school, but you don’t necessarily have the one class in front of you or in our cases a lot of us teach six classes so for me, six classes where you really are helping those specific kids. Especially as a teacher every class becomes like a little family, so I didn’t necessarily have that same family feel, and it’s not that administration was bad at all, it’s just I know I was born to be a teacher, that’s what I really enjoy doing and I think I’m somewhat effective hopefully.
Was there anything specific that you had to give up to come back and was it worth it?
As an administrator you usually work more days than a teacher so as a teacher, I’m on a 190 day contract so I’m getting paid a little bit less than I was as an administrator. I got my doctorate degree five years ago knowing one day I would probably want to go into administration … and one of the reasons i got my doctorate degree is that if i ever went into administration i knew that if i wanted to go back to teaching with my doctorate degree i can get paid a little bit more than if i didn’t have it, so that decrease in pay from being an administrator would be super significant, so my family and i could still be ok on my salary even as a teacher with my doctorate. so i guess one thing is money i had to give up a little bit, but that’s not a huge deal. I kinda live my life, where lifes not about me it’s about everyone around me, so I felt like coming back to teach would help me help more people at least in my mind. Everyone is wired for different jobs, our administrators here at Wando and at the CAS are absolutely fantastic. They do a great job in everything, but for me I just kinda enjoy the classroom a little bit more.
Is there a reason you choose to teach everyday?
A lot of current teachers had teachers in highschool that kinda influenced them, so I feel like I have the ability to help other people. I have the capacity to take on a lot in my life and I’m super lucky to have this, so the fact that I can take on a lot in my life and still help other people I feel, I guess a responsibility or a privilege to help other people since I have the ability to do that. Since I’m self aware enough to know that I can help other people, I feel like it’s a good thing to do that. I own a woodworking company on the side, I could easily go off and work on my woodworking company full time and probably make double what i do as a teacher but lifes about more than just money so I would rather be here helping students, helping other teachers, helping families, than just go off do something else make more money and probably not be as happy. My first day back in teaching I felt like I wasn’t even gone. I was like oh yeah I remember all this you kinda just jump right back into it and I felt like I made the right decision when I came back on day one, which was cool.
Is there anything in your years of teaching that helped you see the impact you have on your kids?
Last year when i was still and administrator, i had one of my old students who is now at clemson and a couple of weeks later another student who was a senior last year whos going to the citadel, they both emailed me just randomly out of the blue just updating me on their lives and then saying how much my class impacted them and kinda helped them go forward. specifically one of my students, so i piloted distance learning for charleston county a few years ago pre covid where we actually had students on the screen and in the room at the same time, and one of the students who emailed me was at baptist dale high school which is a rural high school at the far end of charleston county. I had him as a freshman in AP Human Geography under our distance learning, so he emailed me and said he got a full scholarship to the citadel and he said there’s no way that he could have gotten that without me setting him up to be a good student his freshman year. stuff like that’s super cool, like the fact that hopefully you’re helping people. I remember when I got that email, administrators have a huge impact as well, but I feel like with my skill set and how I’m wired I can have that impact on more students as a teacher. just seeing my students on down the line years later succeed is just really cool, it makes me feel good and that’s the tricky thing about teaching, you might not see the instant gratification or the instant result from what you teach your students until four or five years down the road, but once that happens you’re just like oh ok wow I actually did something good.