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San Diego Educator Named California Teacher Of The Year

October 19, 2017 1:39 p.m.

San Diego Educator Named California Teacher Of The Year


Jaime Brown, English teacher, San Diego High School of International Studies

Related Story: San Diego Educator Named California Teacher Of The Year


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

Apparently students that she was great even before she was named a teacher of the year. Reports are that Jamie Brown's high school students cheered when the news of the ward was announced. There are only five teachers selected by the state Department of Education each year and Jamie Brown is one of them and joints me now. Congratulations.Thank you so much.You got a phone call last week to let you know that your been named one of the teachers of the year.Yes, I received a phone call. It was during passing period. When I picked up, it was the super -- superintendent. He called to congratulate me.Your name was in consideration for local teacher of the year and that submitted to the state for this award. What you think awards like this are important?I think they are important because one things that we are facing right now is teachers's shortage. We need to elevate teaching as a profession to encourage more young people to join in. I'm really lucky to be in San Diego because we celebrate teachers like no one else in the country does. I feel very lucky for that.You've been open about in the middle school Texas was hard for you and it seems to have influence how you teach. What did you experience?I grew up in San Diego but for three grades I did live in Texas. A teacher that I had their as she was calling will call everyone had a Latino name that sat on one side of the class and the white students were sitting on the other. She called my name and I raise my hand and said is Jamie. She sat me on the side of the classroom were all the other Latino kids were. I was kind of shocked and I did eventually work up the courage to ask why. She said by good students need a quiet place to work and she did not know any of us. Living in San Diego and growing up did not really prepare me for that type of over racism. As a young person I had not find my voice to fight against that. I remember she would call my name every morning Jaime. I just stopped correcting her. That is the first C I ever got in the class. When I truly do is create a safe space for learning for all my students. That starts on day one it starts with trying to show them that their voice matters on the first in class I have a spectrum set up in the front of the classroom. Is a poster with a line in a question. Every student will get a sticker dock and as they come in, they can place their dot on the spectrum and that we have a conversation about why they put it where they did. It seems like a silly thing but from day one creating these pieces of evidence that when you come into my class, your voice matters in your opinion matters and it will lead the way and provide a good foundation for them using their voices and more rigorous discussions.You say you want your students to find their voice outside the classroom. What you mean by that?When I think about what is important or what I would like my students to know and be able to do a big part of it is using that voice whether it be standing up for themselves and personal situations in their place of employment or becoming an activist feeling strong and grounded in who they are in their voice does matter I think is important.You've discovered that you come from a long line of teachers back to your great-grandmother.Yes, I believe that is right. My aunt Kathy showed me a document that might be my great-grandmothers teaching credential. I've been very fortunate to come from a long line of educators. I have three ants that are educators.There's another unusual aspect to your career. You teach at Senegal high school and you've been there since the start of your career and also graduated from San Diego high school. What makes that school so special in your eyes which mightSomething that I've been fortunate to have our amazing teachers. I had some really incredible teachers at Senegal high school who became my mentor's and then finally were my colleagues so I think that coupled with the international program there, which really prepared me for college and made me feel like my voice matters. Those two things are why I was eager to return there as a teacher.What does a teacher of the year get? Is their monetary award?I found out about the California honor and I'm interested to see what happens. I know we have a professional development in December where I get to meet the other teachers of the year and I'm sure that will be invaluable. There's also a gala celebration in February. I was lucky enough to be one of the five-county teachers of the year. That came with many rewards. One was that we are given $1000 from Senegal state athletics to spend in our classroom and also given $1000 by the sponsor of the program.What advice you have for aspiring teachers today?That is a great question. It's a very challenging job and something that I'm still learning how to do is balancing work and life. If you can keep in about the students all of your decisions like what you're doing in the classroom and what professional developments you seek out to make yourself a better teacher always bring it back to how is this going to serve my students and make this environment or my teaching more meaningful for them.I have been speaking with Jamie Brown, teacher at San Diego high school and has been named one of California's teachers of the year. Thank you so much.Thank you so much. It's been a pleasure.