Tell us a bit about your background. (Ex: where you’re from, how long you’ve taught and where, some of your hobbies/interests, etc.)
My name is Darrian Bryan, and I teach English Language Arts to grades 9 and 11 in the high school. This is my second year at BBS, but my fourteenth year as a teacher. I’m from the tiny, but (arguably) the most influential island in the Caribbean - Jamaica. I attended teacher’s college and from there went on to pursue a degree in Literatures in English with a minor in Psychology and Film Studies. A word that I think appropriately describes me is ambivert, not quite an extrovert, and yet not quite an introvert. I comfortably reside at the intersection of these two personality types. Therefore it shouldn’t be surprising that I am an actor. At home, in Jamaica, I appeared in several national advertisements as well as theater productions. I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of being an international teacher and exploring new territories, and it was that sense of adventure that lured me across the seas to Kuwait.
What inspires you as a teacher?
Both my parents were educators, and many of the students they taught went on to become meaningful contributors to society. The respect these students had for my parents is something I noted. This demonstrated to me that a teacher can make an impact on a young mind, and that is what I strive to do. I want to be able to contribute to my students' lives, particularly young men. I want them to be able to operate successfully in society.
One way I’m able to impact my students is to build a sense of community and belonging in my classroom. My students need to feel safe and respected. I believe their voices should be heard, “how else can I know what they need?” Addressing the “why” of learning is important if I am to gain the participation and engage my students.
In what ways has the pandemic impacted you and your teaching?
This has been a challenging time in many ways, but I believe I was built for this! The introvert in me was quite happy to be at home. I appreciated slowing down and taking the time to be introspective. We don’t always have the time to stop. The pandemic has pushed us to begin embracing the 21st century classroom, to consider what works best for student performance and implement it. As a result of this I have come to appreciate getting feedback from students through surveys. This has yielded many benefits for myself and my students: they have the opportunity for thinking time, and the data helps me to know where to go next. While this has been a time of tremendous suffering I think we will emerge from it better than we entered!