Jeanine Brotherston Braak ’97

Upper School Mathematics.

Jeanine graduated from Springside School in 1997 and started teaching at SCH Academy in 2016.

What inspired you to become a teacher?

One of the most rewarding things about being a teacher is being able to encourage young people to pursue their interests and dreams. In mathematics my goal is to help students make connections, see the world in a different way, and find ways to challenge themselves while solving problems. I enjoy helping students who might struggle to find strategies to overcome obstacles in their way, whether it be with math or in some other aspect of their growth as an individual. Being a mentor to students is probably one of the most rewarding parts of being a teacher.

What attracted you to teach at SCH?

My experience as a child at Springside School was the main motivator for seeking a job here at SCH. I always felt loved, cared for, and challenged intellectually as a student. My teachers and the community were, and still are, special, and this made a very lasting impression on me. Those who inspired me as a young person made me love learning, and I hope I can do the same for my students.

What part of SCH’s mission or values is most meaningful to you as a teacher?

Diversity, inclusivity, and our mission to inspire unbounded curiosity make SCH a unique and special place. Our community is supportive and strives to continue to learn and grow. I find this all very important and inspiring.

What do you enjoy most about teaching and why?

One of the most rewarding things about teaching is making connections with students, helping them find their inspiration, and guiding them in their quest for knowledge and growth.

What question has a student asked you that really surprised you or made you think?

I think something that surprised me was a time when a student approached me as a senior and thanked me for something I said to her in her freshman year. I didn’t even remember saying it, but the instance she recounted made me reflect on the impact that teachers have on their students. 

I used to direct the the high school plays and run the drama club at my former high school.  At the first meeting after this student introduced herself, I said something as simple as “We are so glad you are here.“ This simple welcoming gesture made a lasting impression on her and made her feel a part of the group. She told me that she always had trouble fitting in, especially in middle school, and saying this simple thing to her when she was feeling vulnerable made a lasting impression. It made her feel safe and accepted. She went on throughout her high school career to be heavily involved in our theater program. The theater group was like her family.  

The point of the story is that you never know what small things you say or do as a teacher may inspire or affect young people and how important it is to care for and encourage them, because one act of kindness can go a long way.

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