Third grade teacher Dorothy Brown breezes into the classroom like it's her second home.

Brown has taught two generations of Graham children at Crestview Elementary for 42 years (five years in first grade, and 35 in third), and she's still enthusiastic to be in the classroom. Brown said much of her success in teaching is due to evaluating children's individual maturity levels.

“Some children don't learn at the same level and at the same pace,” she said. “Your goal is for every child to be successful and to try everything you know to do so they experience some measure of success. Teaching small children requires lots of patience and constant attention to their needs academically, emotionally and socially.
Veteran Crestview teacher Dorothy Brown has taught at Crestview Elementary for 42 years. Brown evaluates a each styles maturity level academically,
Veteran Crestview teacher Dorothy Brown has taught at Crestview Elementary for 42 years. Brown evaluates a each styles maturity level academically, emotionally and socially and teaches by a combination of traditional and new teaching styles. (Gay Storms)


In contrast to the veteran Crestview teacher, Rebecca Browning is a first year teacher who teaches Texas history at Graham Junior High School. She already knew a great deal about GISD because of her husband, Gary Browning, who is now GISD Curriculum Coordinator, and from working as a secretary for Joe Gordy from 2000-04 at GHS. From 2005 to 2013, she took time off to be a full-time mother.

“I love teaching seventh graders,” she said. “When you're teaching something new, they look at you, and then they get a look on their faces, and you know they've had an ‘A-HA' moment.”

When teaching her students, Brown combines both new and old educational methods. She uses computer lab games to reinforce learning, and when she teaches math, she uses the Promethium board, a new technological resource.

“I get updates on new methods and trends that are research-based and field-tested,” Brown said. “But I hold onto traditional, tried-and-true methods of teaching that have been successful. Teachers must be given the creativity and freedom to have input in what will be taught to their students. The curriculum must be completely transparent so that parents and tax-paying community members can be involved in educating students.”

Browning teaches mainly through an educational technique called cooperative learning. Through this method, students divide into groups and work with each other on learning activities. Although Browning facilitates groups that need help, the students must work together and ultimately come up with their own answers.

“Students can learn from each other and often explain things in terms they understand better,” she said. “This method seems to help students who are having trouble. A peer can often explain something in their own terms better than an adult.”

Read the entire story in Wednesday's edition of the Graham Leader.