Josh Brown’s inspiration from his own sixth-grade teacher gave him the push to become a teacher himself.
“I was in a tough spot in my life. I was…not on the path I thought I was going to be at that point,” Brown said. “I asked myself, ‘What did you really enjoy doing so far in life, and is it something you could possibly do for a living?’”
Brown, the fifth-grade social studies and math teacher at Midland Elementary for the past five years, followed his passion for learning and being a self-proclaimed “information nerd” to receiving the school’s Teacher of the Year award this year.
He said after his sixth-grade teacher, Mrs. Nameth, really “kicked him into gear,” he enjoyed learning and said he became a “learning junkie”, always wanting to know how things worked.
He also became a History Channel and Smithsonian Channel nut.
“I decided to go back to school for teaching with the hopes of being someone’s Mrs. Nameth, and trying to impose on kids in a very distracting [technological] age that learning can be fun, and school is awesome.”
He said he knew “something was up” when Principal Jennifer Parker came to his room and made him leave momentarily.
“I went to the classroom next door with a student I was helping…until I was called back in. The whole class (and other fifth graders who were in the hall) started cheering,” Brown said.
He said he got nervous hoping he wouldn’t have to make a speech, but thanked everyone.
“I am completely honored and blessed to have been chosen,” Brown said. “There were times when I questioned whether or not I deserved the honor. Midland put my picture and the announcement on their Facebook page, and the reaction really did bring me to tears. We (teachers) work in a thankless industry, it’s just something we know and knew going in. But because of this experience and honor, it was nice to hear that what I got into teaching to do, I have accomplished and continue to work toward everyday.”
Brown said he loves the moments when he is able to connect with students and they are able to do something that was hard for them just a few days ago, or perhaps all last year.
“The moment when you can celebrate with a student who may not perform well most of the time, but just scored their highest grade ever on a test,” Brown said. “The moment when a student sees their report card and it is the first time they have ever made Honor Roll…then with a huge smile thanks you…but you get to tell them you had nothing to do with it, that it was all them.”
Originally from upstate New York, Brown came to Horry County about 12 years ago. He attended Horry Georgetown Technical College, as well as Coastal Carolina University for his undergraduate and graduate degrees in education. He has two dogs, a 9-year-old Australian Shepherd and Labrador mix named Jetty (for the New York Jets), and a 3-year-old Labrador and Basset Hound mix named Zoey.
When he is not in the classroom, he enjoys golfing, skiing, woodworking, watching N.Y. Jets football, tinkering with new technology tools for the classroom, and “just overall being a nerd” by learning and reading about new things.
“Mr. Brown keeps us motivated about using new techniques when teaching. He is always willing to offer his assistance to fellow teachers who need help with technology,” Parker said.