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Teacher Appreciation: Ms. Brasic

Ms. Brasic teaches AP United States History, AP Micro and Macroeconomics, and AP Computer Science at Eastern High School. She grew up in Comstock Park and attended Sparta High School. Her family moved from Evart, Michigan after her dad got a job as Superintendent of Sparta Schools. She attended Central Michigan University and calls it the “best five and a half years of my life.” She did not always aspire to become a teacher. In fact, she was adamant on not going into teaching. “The night before I went to college, I went out to dinner with my dad and my sister and I remember telling them ‘I’m not going to become a teacher'” she continues, “after two years of college I realized that education is where I wanted to be, because I wanted to work with teenagers.”

This school year was her first time teaching computer science. “It was awesome,” she says, “It was project-based, students were learning things that were relevant to them, and I feel like what I was teaching them they’ll actually be able to use outside of the confines of my classroom.” She continued to talk more about the other classes she covers, “I also love teaching APUSH just because I like the fact we get to look at so many different primary sources, and I love having students think about history from different perspectives.” She is also the teacher for Model UN, a club that allows teenagers to solve world issues by representing different countries in a student version of the United Nations. “That was another one where I felt like what we did in the classroom was more than just paper and pencil. It was more relevant because you guys are engaged in debate, diplomacy, and you get to look at issues from different perspectives.”

When asked what the title of her autobiography would be, she took a moment to think deeply. She replied, “I don’t like it when people tell me no or tell me I can’t do something. So — oh my gosh, this sounds like Hillary Clinton’s — Yes I Can.” She continued with more ideas, “Rebel Without A Clue, maybe? I think rules don’t apply to me sometimes when they do. I’ve honestly never thought about [this] before. I guess I’m not very introspective.” 

I then asked her what her ideal student looks like. “That’s a weird question for me to answer because ideal students are the students that I don’t necessarily have in class anymore. My ideal student is a student like me in high school who didn’t really care. The students I used to connect the most with are the students that were on the fringe — for whatever reason — either academically or socially. Those are the students I used to connect with really really well,” she continues on, “I used to have students that would eat lunch in my room every day and come to my class every day after school and they still come and visit me. Since I started teaching all AP classes I have really good students. Academically and behaviorally, AP students are easy. But my favorite student is the one who tries. The one who tries and the one who is nice. I don’t like mean people,” she says giggling, “so I would say that: that my favorite types of students would be the ones who try and the ones who are nice and not jerks. It’s really all I can ask for.” 

Now we get into the deep topics: her love for pugs. “No. I did not always love pugs. When we got our first pug we had a cat. I didn’t want [the dog], and my husband did. And I was like, ‘Well the cat is going to be mine and the dog is going to be yours.’ Yeah, that lasted about three days, and the dog was mine. So, for the last thirteen years, I’ve been obsessed with pugs because I don’t have kids so I put all of my love and energy into my little puggles.”

The least favorite part of her job, without any pause, is the grading. “Grading! For sure. Grading. I hate grading. I hate everything about grading. I don’t mind giving students feedback on things, but the time it takes is really labor intensive especially in AP U.S. History,” she continued, “I hate the concept of grades. I wish students could just focus on learning material. And I know why: you guys are pressured. There’s so much pressure on you to get into college and to get good grades. I get it, but that’s the part I don’t like.”

Lastly, Ms. Brasic offered some advice to students at FHE. “Do your best and forget the rest. Channeling my inner Tony Horton,” she chuckles, “Because that’s all that you can do is your best. As long as you can go into anything you do and walk out of it and say ‘Yep. It doesn’t matter what the outcome is. I put my best effort, my best energy into it,’ then, that’s awesome.”