David Grossman, an Elizabethtown High School teacher, originally wanted to stay teaching elementary school students. But now Grossman, who is entering his 19th year in the education realm has a résumé that stretches nearly across all grade levels.
“K to 10th grade, I’ve been there,” he said.
Grossman, who teaches 10th-grade biology and freshman science, began his career at Morningside Elementary School before moving on to T.K. Stone Middle School.
During his nearly 20-year tenure, Grossman has taught some students more than once. This previous school year, Grossman taught students that he had while he taught seventh-grade. For this upcoming school year, Grossman will be teaching students he taught while they were in seventh- and eighth-grade.
“They may be a little tired of me,” he said.
Grossman said it was a nice experience seeing his students mature.
Grossman said there are several aspects of education that have changed during his career.
“We’re seeing with more diverse needs that were having to support not just academically but emotionally,” he said. “We’re also seeing increased pressure as far as standards in testing.”
In his field, Grossman science has expanded from beyond vocabulary and notes.
“Having them memorize those things is not important,” he said. “Having them understand how biology works, that’s important.”
“Middle school is hard for everybody. Nobody looks back and goes, ‘You know, middle school was the best three years of my life.’ So it’s nice to see them have made it through that and kind of settle down and they’re starting to become the adults that they’re going to be,” he said.
In his tenure, Grossman said one memory that sticks out to him the most was in the mid 2000s when he won the Excellence in Classroom and Educational Leadership Award while he was at Morningside Elementary School. On the day of the ceremony when Grossman entered the school, he was greeted by a line of children that gave him high-fives leading into the auditorium, cheering him on.
Grossman resumes teaching Wednesday.
In another school, Bethany Brawner, an art teacher at Creekside Elementary School, is entering her 24th year.
Brawner said she fell in love with the profession when she was a child. Her parents taught at North Hardin High School and Central Hardin High School.
“I was constantly helping in their classroom when I was little,” she said. “I always just had a desire to be a teacher.”
Brawner’s experience includes a previous position at Meadow View Elementary School and a background in teaching music as well. She said there have been changes that have happened inside and outside of the classroom during her teaching career.
“We used to have a whole lot more parental support,” she said. “There’s blended families now. Grandparents taking care of their grandchildren. Parents that are separated and divorced and things like that, so we have a lot more needs. The students are a lot needier now. They need love and support and guidance.”
In her numerous years of teaching, several memories stick out to Brawner. One, in particular, is during her third year of teaching when was at Meadow View. There was a special needs student whose routine was to come into Brawner’s classroom to play the piano in the morning, she recalled. This was important for the student.
“If his routine was not normal that day, then his day would be off,” she said.
Another memory that sticks out to Brawner is a former Creekside Elementary student who was timid and shy. He did not like art or being creative, according to Brawner.
“I started working with him and he just became a very budding artist,” she said.
Brawner said the child became very interested in art and would do research on various art pieces and would quiz her.
“He actually became a teacher to me sometimes because he kept me on my toes,” she said.
Brawner said being a teacher is a lot of “stress and strain,” but was thankful to those who supported her, including school staff and her husband, Allen, who teaches physical education at Creekside Elementary.
“I have been very blessed,” she said.
Brawner heads back into the classroom Thursday.