So Much More Than a Teacher
Faculty play an enormous role in fulfilling Brooks School's mission to "provide the most meaningful educational experience our students will have in their lives," and that goes beyond their work in the classroom.
Our 66 teaching faculty members help students learn as academic teachers, and also informally as mentors, advocates, supporters and confidantes. At Brooks School, teachers play many roles ...
The bond between teachers and students at Brooks is really special.
They are academic advisors
"Students quickly realize how important it is to develop a close relationship with their advisor," said Emma Dawson ’18 and Nalia Medina ’18, speaking out about their close relationship with advisor Susanna Waters, a history teacher and associate head of school for academic affairs. "Over the past couple of years, the two of us have encountered the ebb and flow of high school life, and Mrs. Waters has remained our constant support throughout it all ... "[Our meetings with her] have become something that we have grown to love and look forward to. They usually start off with an academic check-in, but quickly transform into relaxed conversations about just about anything on either of our minds."
They are coaches
More than 25 faculty members coach an athletics team, from our champion boys 1st basketball squad to the dominant field hockey and squash teams. "There is so much common ground between the classroom and the court: Great teachers are coaches for their students, and great coaches are teachers for their players," said former English teacher John McVeigh, NEPSAC Class B Basketball Coach of the Year 2017. "In both cases, we work hard to get to know the kids and then use that relationship and trust to help them to get out of their comfort zone so they can stretch and grow and accomplish things they didn't even know were within their reach. And often, what you learn in class can be applied on your team, and vice versa. There are so many teachable moments at Brooks and coaching provides countless opportunities to make a difference for our students."
They are dorm parents
Laura Hajdukiewicz P'15, P'17, P'19 — science teacher and department chair — lives in Blake House and has been a dorm parent since 2017. "Every student has their own unique story and we only see one facet of the kids while they are sitting in our classroom," she said. "By living with students, I get to learn more about them, which helps me to reach them in different ways." Students turn to her when they need advice and support, both academic and emotional. "So not only do I get to know them better, they also get to know me in a different way when they come into my home for pancakes or to hang out," she added. "As my own children are now grown and off to college and the work force, I am so happy to be supporting students outside of the classroom. . . . They become a part of my own family."
"Everybody wants to help you, you just have to learn that it's OK to ask. Plus, if you ask, some of the teachers here make some really fire cookies to help you study."
They are club leaders
"I love teaching and connecting with my students because for me, it is an extension of motherhood," said Spanish teacher Lillian Miller, who also helps run the campus club Alianza Latina. "And I enjoy my role as an advisor to the Alianza Latina Club because I understand what our students are experiencing and I want them to grow. I remember how it felt when I first arrived to the United States so in many ways I feel a strong connection to the Latino students and a desire to help them in any way I can."
They are mentors
“Whenever someone asks me why I love Brooks so much, I always return to the small class sizes and the relationships I have built with my teachers," shared Maddie Hesse '20. "In each and every class, I receive personalized attention, and my teachers are always available outside of school hours for extra help and to answer any questions I have. However, these relationships stretch far beyond academia, and my teachers understand me as a person. They know my morals, my interests, my passions, my hometown. They take me out on coffee runs or out for ice cream, and they are happy to offer advice and support when I’m struggling with an issue completely unrelated to school."