TEACHER TUESDAY BLOG
"The ESD teachers are so welcoming and open to helping you. They want you to succeed."
- a member of the Class of 2017
Check back each week for a new post!
Phil Bryan: Upper School English Teacher
What motivated and inspired you to teach? It seems cliche to say it, but I can think of numerous teachers who genuinely changed my life. A big part of who I am today is because of the teachers I sat under for twenty years. So as a young man thinking about my own career path, I realized that I wanted to make a difference for the future, and directly impacting people's lives is the best way to do that. Becoming a teacher gives me the most hours with people of any job I know, and those people happen to still be young and willing to take intellectual risks. What other job gives you that?
What makes you excited to come to school every day? I like to tell people that I am in the people business. I don't teach English-- I teach PEOPLE English. I am energized by both my students and colleagues, and I love that we are focused on things of permanent value: intellect, character...the very essence of humanity.
Beyond your subject-area, what life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? Humility is more precious than gold. It's easy to hide behind swagger and confidence, but real strength comes from both knowing and admitting your frailties. We cannot live well in community until we admit we need other people's strengths to fill in our weaknesses.
Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! I am an ordained minister, and I worked in churches for 17 years before becoming a full-time teacher. Somewhere in the middle of my time as a pastor, I was asked to teach part time. It was a slow burn, but I eventually realized that teaching was so much more fun than being a pastor. It took me a few years to fully switch careers, but I've never looked back since becoming a teacher.
What is your favorite book and why? Ugh! That's an unfair question for an English teacher-- it's like asking me which of my kids I love most! I suppose the book that first blew my mind was Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. I'm not sure I've ever recovered from the beauty of his prose and the depth of his message.
If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be? For the sake of simplicity, I'll only pick writers: C.S. Lewis, William Faulkner, and Fyodor Dostoevsky. That would probably make for wild night!
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