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Do you know about the Virginia Early Intervention Reading Initiative (EIRI)?  The Virginia EIRI’s goal is to serve students in grades K-3 by helping reduce reading difficulties through early diagnosis and immediate intervention.  The initiative assists distri...

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December Instructor Spotlight

Thirty-seven year old Phillip Brannon has always been interested in becoming a teacher, but never knew how to start the process.  He describes himself as a creative, high energy individual with a desire to impart knowledge to others. 

        “He said that he was looking for another way to serve and felt he would be able to accomplish this by teaching,” says Recruitment Specialist, Toby Williams. 

        When asking Phillip why he wanted to become an EdForce Instructor, he could not deny his love for teaching.  “I decided to become an instructor because teaching has always been something I enjoyed in my previous jobs, so I thought I might enjoy it in the public school system.  I’ve been an EdForce Instructor for a short amount of time, but have been teaching individuals in some form or fashion since 2004,” Phillip states.

       Prior to becoming an instructor in the public school setting, Phillip attended Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in History.  He continued his education and earned a diploma in Biblical Studies from the Memphis School of Preaching in Memphis, TN, before moving back to Virginia and taking part in basic military training and technical training for the U.S. Navy.

       He acquired various preaching jobs starting in 2004 and brought his leadership experience into the classroom by becoming an Adjunct Instructor for the North Carolina School of Biblical Studies in Clemmons, NC from 2011-2013.  In these classes, he served as an instructor teaching Biblical studies courses and courses relating to the work of a preacher. He then eventually started working at a public school system in 2016 as a substitute teacher for a semester in Broadway, VA, part of Rockingham County Schools.  In this position, he has first-hand experience in classroom management and further learned how to adapt to different student learning styles.      

       It was shortly after this that Toby recruited Phillip.  At the time, Philip was utilizing his previous training from the U.S. Navy and was working as an Intelligence Specialist for the U.S. Navy Reserve.  Then, a teaching position opened in Emporia, VA.

       “The EdForce team called me while I was working in the Washington D.C. area to tell me about a position in southern Virginia. They provided me with information about the school and point of contacts and also played the role of mediator between the school and myself early on. I appreciate the help I have received thus far!”

EdForce™ offered Phillip a solution to enter the education industry from the outside. “He didn’t know what it would be like in a public school setting and wasn’t quite sure what to do once getting into that setting,” says Andrew. “We guided him through the process of how to become a provisionally licensed teacher in the state of Virginia. We set him up with the school district and instructional coaches, Lyric Olivarez Belcik and Larry Marks, trained him for the interview.  He was then given a provisional license in History and learned how to turn state standards into class lessons.”  From the licensure part to in class experience, the EdForce team supported Phillip and helped him ease into a teaching position.

Currently, Phillip teaches seventh and eighth grade at Wyatt Middle School, part of Greensville County Public Schools in Emporia, VA.  “As a new person in the school, I am still getting my footing, but I think my fellow teachers look at me as a person who brings hard work and cheerfulness to the job,” states Phillip. “I think they see me as helping to fill a void in the school’s curriculum.”

       Despite being ‘the new person’ in school, Phillip has been successful in taking different approaches in assessing and evaluating students.  He examines their testing abilities and monitors his students’ reading, writing, and verbal skills through different work channels to see how, and if, said students are showing signs of growth.  If a system is not working, he tries various other methods to reach students and makes sure to appeal to several ways of learning in hopes that students will gather and retain information.

       “I tend to give a general lesson, but then break up the learning process into different methods.  For example, I will give general instruction, using diagrams and drawings, and visual writings on the board.  Then, I might play a short video to reinforce what we have just learned.  Then, the class might break up into groups to put into practice what they have learned.  All the while, I will walk around and involve myself in the different groups, while additionally asking students who have a hard time paying attention in class to give examples.  My hopes are to get them involved in the learning process.”

       With the help of EdForce, Philip has learned that while it has its difficulties, he thoroughly enjoys teaching children. “When children want to learn, the experience can be very rewarding and can cause me to smile all during the instruction.  I enjoy watching students grow and improve in what they are trying to accomplish.  I gain a sense of accomplishment in helping others achieve their goals.  I believe discipline, respect, honor, courage, and commitment are all key values youth should learn in the classroom.”

       PCG Education and the EdForce team would like to thank Phillip for his dedication to his students and commend his abilities as a teacher. “His background and transition into education is a very interesting one and from what I have heard from his principal, he is already doing very well in the classroom,” says Andrew.

Article written by Summer Tarpley.