I live in Maine where snow doesn’t stop us from living our lives. We get a lot of the white stuff and simply wouldn’t accomplish a thing if we stopped everything for a few flakes. However, this winter has been throwing some curve balls with crazy snow storms in the unlikeliest of places, such as Memphis, Tennessee.
There, school had been closed for a few days on account of snow storm, so on January 16th when teacher Candous Brown and her students got (another) unexpected day off from school, she made herself familiar with Facebook Live at breakneck speed just so her students could get their English lesson in.
“This is my first time going live. I’ve never done this before. Hopefully y’all can hear me,” Brown said in the video. She waited patiently in her cat pajamas while more than 40 kids — even some former students who had already graduated but were probably astounded and amused by this technical feat by Ms. Brown — chimed in to learn about Guns, Germs, and Steel.
For Brown, teaching is a serious endeavor, despite how funny her video turned out to be.
“I never look at my classroom or my practices as though I’m just teaching a lesson,” Brown tells Babble. “I always try to make things applicable to life. My kids want to know how curriculum materials are going to be used in everyday life so my approach has always been to prove to them and show them that the things we do aren’t meaningless.”
It would have been understandable for her to blow the day off and go sledding like the kids in my neighborhood do. But Brown sees her students as having the potential to grow up and make huge waves in their lives and communities.
“People DEFINITELY underestimate the kids, especially the ones I teach,” Brown tells Babble. “The kids that enter my classroom are often counted out. People from surrounding areas think these kids will amount to nothing but criminals — but I know otherwise.”
Watching her Facebook Live, it is easy to get the sense that not only do these kids have a world of respect for their teacher, but that they are curious and smart.
“My kids are so bright! They push me just as much as I push them,” Brown shares with Babble. “They have a drive and determination to succeed that is unparalleled. People think that because these kids come from a certain background — single parent homes, low income, etc. — that they won’t be successful. For many of them, this background FUELS the DESIRE to be successful! I have to constantly remind people not to count them out.”
Every kid deserves a teacher who is passionate and strong to help guide them toward graduation and to give them the skills and confidence they need to leap out into the world with big dreams. Brown is clearly that teacher, and luckily, her school culture supports her drive to give kids everything they need to succeed. Brown explains to Babble that her school cultivates a true sense of perseverance and we can see exactly what she means.
As a working mother of three, I have to admit that I was howling with laughter through several portions of Brown’s Facebook Live video. Her family just could not help but interrupt her in the same way every mother who has ever tried to have a phone call can relate to.
“I had to take a couple deep breaths and count to five, hence the pregnant pause,” Brown tells Babble, adding, “My son, on the other hand, is striking poses in the background in his Ninja Turtle jammies! It was hilarious! Luckily, my kids adore him and treat him like their little brother, so they were excited to see him.”
Here’s hoping this awesome teacher got a chance to get some sledding in. Keep up the great work!