The Amazing People of Wellsprings
A year long series
This newsletter's focus:
Brad Goss, teacher at Wellsprings since 2013.
Interviewed by Chris Meeker (parent at school).
Brad Goss first came to Wellsprings in 2013 to assist in Math and Writing classes. A University of Oregon graduate with a degree in English, Brad taught a popular Literature class throughout the 2014/15 school year. He began teaching full-time in the fall of 2015, offering a wide range of language arts classes.
Each teacher brings their own wealth of experiences to the students in different ways. One of the ways that Brad likes to teach is by alternating different types of activities such as a lecture, some kind of “hands-on activity”, reading, watching a video and then speaking about it, creating art, or going on a related field trip to gain another perspective. Since there are varied learning styles, different approaches give the opportunity to engage everyone. Plus it’s more interesting and fun!
Imagine one of Brad’s recent classes taught on The History of Empires: The Rise and Fall of Rome, the Byzantines, and the Mongolian Empire. You’re asked to write a biography of someone who would have been alive at that time. And then each student plays the part of one of those people. The majority are peasants. There is also an emperor or perhaps a Mongolian horse trainer. The exercise encourages you to think about life from someone else’s perspective and to imagine another time and place. Another day you might draw your character, labeling items from that time period. This engaging in multiple ways of learning helps one to connect with history in ways that a “lecture-only” classic form of teaching does not.
Last term coincided with World Mental Health Month so Brad’s class read One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. For a field trip the students visited the Oregon State Mental Hospital Museum of Mental Health. Through this experience students got an additional perspective on the history of mental health in our country, in particular in Oregon. There was a large list of who was admitted, what they were admitted for and what kinds of behavior were listed as “crazy”. Some of the students remarked on the fact that they have some of the same issues as the patients had but that it was just dealt with very differently back then. It was an intense and informative tour. An interesting side note was that the tour guide was a daughter of the head psychologist for the building in the mid-1900s and she grew up on the hospital grounds in a staff building.
These examples illustrate the lengths to which Brad, and the other teachers at the school, reach to bring different learning approaches to the students. As we approach the final few weeks of the school year Brad mentioned how appreciative many students are of the school and community and how much they’ve changed and grown. The students often realize with summer approaching how much they are going to miss the school; especially the seniors who will be graduating.
Seeing students’ growth is one part of what Brad enjoys about being a teacher. Brad’s philosophy is, ”To treat everyone as individuals and to do my best to show them how I learned and how to deal with all of the struggles.” With an approach like this, it is no wonder that Brad feels he is making an impact and is emotionally fulfilled with his work. Thank you, Brad!