History Teacher Travels the Globe


de Toledo history teacher Ms. Brown

I sat down with Ms. Brown, a history teacher at de Toledo High School, to ask a few questions about her life. Shout out to Ms. Brown for putting up with my questions. Thanks.

Prowler: Ms. Brown, how do you feel about being one of de Toledo’s favorite teachers?

 Ms. Brown: I am extremely honored–this was unexpected–but it is quite a nice compliment to be selected for this interview and to even be called one of de Toledo‘s favorite teachers. That was really cool for me to experience: when I first opened the document and saw what it was, it felt good. It was a nice honor to have. Thank you.

Prowler: What inspired you to be a history teacher?

Ms. Brown: Yes, my mom was actually a high school history teacher as well, and I think it is relatable for many students at the school (or students in general) that, when I was around your age, I did not want to do what my parents did and tried very hard not to follow in my parents’ footsteps, and I actually worked in television as a production assistant when I got out of college. It was a lot of fun and I loved it, but I never felt very fulfilled by it, and I also did not like that I only had two weeks off a year. And if anyone knows me–as my students do–I love to travel, so my parents said to me, “You love to travel…you might want to consider becoming a history teacher.” I majored in political science in college and took some history classes and [this] kind of goes with my love of travel and time off, and so I followed in my mother‘s footsteps, which is embarrassing, but now I’m OK with it.

 Prowler: What is your favorite grade to teach and why?

Ms. Brown: Well, when I first started teaching, I had seniors only, and I loved seniors because I felt that I could really talk to them because they were older; however, since I’ve been at de Toledo I have mostly taught 10th grade, and now, of course, I have to defend and change to saying 10th grade because I seem to get along with them the best.

 Prowler: How did you find de Toledo High School?

Ms. Brown: So, I grew up in Los Angeles in the Valley like most of you. I went away to college, and then I moved back home for a year. That was the year that I was a production assistant, and I knew that I wanted to leave Los Angeles and move to New York City, so I moved to New York City, and I actually taught there at a really good public school, and that was when I taught seniors and really liked it. But I was, after a while, done with New York City and needed a change, and I couldn’t handle the winter any longer, and I moved to Madrid, Spain, to teach English and I lived there for a few years teaching English. My visa ran out and so did my money: I would have to move home to Los Angeles, and I started looking for jobs in Los Angeles and a friend of a friend knew of the opening at de Toledo and I sent my resume to de Toledo and the rest is history. I actually interviewed for this job while I was in Madrid.

 Prowler: What is your biggest fear?

Ms. Brown: I don’t talk about it much, but I actually have a lot of fears. They come from my father who has a lot of fears, and they sort of follow me around on a daily basis. For example, I think a few students know this but most don’t: I have a strange fear of fire, and I have never lit a match in my entire life and probably I will never light a match, so fire is a big one for me. I do have a weird fear of sharks and whales appearing in my swimming pool–not mine, but anytime I’m in a swimming pool. I fear skiing, a lot of things with heights. I’m pretty [sure] I have some strange ones. I guess the height one is not very strange. I actually will never scuba dive because I have a fear of running out of oxygen. My fear actually prevents me from doing a lot of otherwise adventurous things because I always worry about the end result rather than just going with it. I actually got to the top of the zip line and I was too scared to zip line and had to walk all the way down. I won’t go on big water slides either.

 Prowler: What characteristic do you look for in a student?

Ms. Brown: Characteristics? That’s a great question…I’m not really sure, but I know it when I feel it every year. I seem to have one or two students that there’s this natural special bond with them, where there’s this warmth and kindness that just feels very natural and almost a trust between me and the students that I seem to have, I guess, but it’s generally a warmth that I look for in my students, and I’ve been really lucky that at this school a lot of the students have that warmth and are pretty kind.

 Prowler: Why is it important for students to study history?

Ms. Brown: I have found that the longer I teach global history or world history the more I realize how important it is for students to be aware…because I see more and more how history really does repeat itself, and I’ve noticed that my students are figuring that out too, and they are seeing the patterns of human nature, and for me, that’s why I do the job that I do: so that they can make the connections and see, “Oh, wait, we’ve been here before.” And I’ve been noticing, and it makes me really proud that a lot of my students see the mistakes of history and want to…right the wrongs and make better changes.