Brenda Fishman has always wanted to be a Social Studies teacher. It was her favorite subject in school and all through college and graduate school, she knew it was the career she wanted to pursue. History was always something that sparked her interest.
“It’s the story of America,” Fishman said. “To me, it’s just a part of our culture that we all share and should know about.”
Fishman started her career student-teaching at Shawnee Mission North after completing graduate school to learn more information about the topics she would be teaching. In school, Fishman enjoyed more hands-on classes that she says made her a better teacher.
“We actually learned how to thread film projectors and we had to do work on machines that don’t exist anymore,” Fishman said. “So I guess I’m an ancient elephant or something.”
She then substitute taught throughout the Shawnee Mission District to familiarize herself with the other teachers and administrators. When she was offered the job as a history and geography teacher at East, she already felt like she belonged here.
Once she became a full-time teacher, Fishman proved her “suck it up and get over it” teaching methods by removing the remedial classes from the course listing. She felt the classes were just playing to the students’ “lazy side.”
Fishman likes to see her students in different settings than the classroom, which is why she she accepted the role of Student Council co-sponsor. As a co-sponsor, she takes tickets at the games, chaperones school dances and holds weekly meetings with all 50 members of STUCO. During these congregations, Fishman helps them plan and coordinate their ideas for fundraisers and school events.
During the summers, she works as a sales clerk at Macy’s, just blocks away from East. At Macy’s, she experiences a different environment than she does at school. However, she doesn’t necessarily enjoy the company of stubborn adults over her rambunctious students.
“By June the 5th I was ready to come back to school,” Fishman said. “It took like a week of being on break.”
While most teachers enjoy being on summer vacation and spending long, sunny days lounging at the pool, Fishman would rather be in her personal paradise: teaching.