Teacher of the Month: Erin Brown


Photo by Jeremy Fredricks.

Erin Brown, an AP World and European History teacher, poses with her Teacher of the Month sign in front of her French flag and historical memes. Her walls are decorated with the flags of different countries in Europe and around the world.

By Jeremy Fredricks, Editor-in-Chief

In green Sharpie, Erin Brown writes her name in all capital letters on the paper, adding a personal touch on the sign she will hold as Teacher of the Month. After that, her picture was taken. Even with her mask on, it was obvious that the AP World and European History teacher was smiling, something she has done a lot of since coming back.

“I was so excited about experiencing [connections] when we came back to the building,” Brown said. “It was actually getting those relationships back and building upon those. It’s still my favorite part of every day is just seeing people’s faces, talking about our weekends, about what’s going on in the world and in our lives.”

Returning to a full classroom has given Brown many opportunities to connect with her students on more than an academic level, something she missed out on during last year’s mostly-virtual classes.

“I already know my students this year better than I knew most of my students last year,” Brown said. “I can celebrate cross country victories and I can say to the field hockey team that they had an awesome win against BCC on Monday [Sept. 20] because I was there. I’m going to go to the fall musical. I think it’s easier for teachers this year, to show that they care.”

Brown has taken the beginning of class to not only congratulate athletes, but to help students with the stress of being back. After the guidance counselors met with seniors about the college admissions process earlier this school year, Brown could tell her students were stressed and knew she needed to address it.

“That was one of those things where I would have never known because I wouldn’t have necessarily seen people’s faces last year,” Brown said. “It’s that kind of thing that I actually really love to do. Yes, I love my subject matter, I love teaching about it and I think it’s important, but when it comes down to it, it’s the people that matter the most.”

Brown was primed for teaching — her mom taught math at her school. When she was younger, she used to pretend to teach with one of her mom’s old textbooks. At the University of Maryland, Brown started off in the public relations field before deciding to follow in her mom’s footsteps.

“I really did not like the way they structured that major. It wasn’t the artistic and social side of it,” Brown said. “So I thought to myself, ‘well, what else do I really like to do?’ I like teaching, I really like kids. I babysat and I love babysitting, and I was a camp counselor for years. So I was like it’s actually better if I do that thing that I pretended to do as a kid for years.”

Brown began teaching as a student at UMD and substituted for younger grades, but realized she appreciated high school more.

“In Kindergarten, they argued over My Little Pony. I was like, ‘guys that’s not what matters’ and they said ‘it was all that mattered to them,’” Brown said. “High school was just more me. I coached field hockey for years, so I loved being able to coach where I worked. That gave me that really special, unique relationship with those players, and it definitely is the right place for me.”

The connections she had with students quickly disappeared in March 2020, when WCHS first went online because of the pandemic. It lasted throughout the rest of the school year, so Brown did not get to send off her seniors in the traditional way. By the time the 2020-21 school year rolled around, she once again had a chance to see her students, but they were at home and only a few students turned on their cameras.

“With COVID, I felt like I was teaching to like a blank screen,” Brown said. “It was the students who put their cameras on. It was seeing those students in office hours and having that. That’s what kept me going.”

The students in her classes have noticed her enthusiasm for them as well. The interest she shows in their lives, taking the time to get to know them as more than just students, is making a positive impact.

“She really cares about her students,” junior Dillan George, who takes both of her classes, said. “She makes an effort to know everyone’s name and to talk to everyone. She’ll volunteer personal anecdotes and stories, and then you share, so you share together.”

Brown talks about her two daughters and her family, what she likes to do on the weekend and her love of Disney movies with her classes.

“I love watching Disney movies,” Brown said. “We have a family movie night most Friday nights where we’ll pick a movie. Sometimes it’ll be like an old classic — my daughters have watched all of the ‘Back to the Future’ movies.”

Brown also enjoys running, trying to get out at least twice a week now and more as the weather cools off. A Saturday in autumn means watching college football, cheering on her alma mater and Penn State University. Before having kids, she watched the NFL, but now focuses on college ball.

She also recently picked up golf and is scheduled to have completed five lessons by the end of the month. She hopes to join her husband and two brothers, as well as Mrs. Van Tassel, on the course.

“She’ll go play with her husband and their sons,” Brown said. “It would be really cool if the Van Tassels and the Browns golf. I’m clearly not there yet, but maybe eventually with practice, I will be able to do that. And, that brings together sports and socializing…I’m all about.”

George noted that Brown is passionate about her activities and teachings. She wants all her students to succeed, especially her “Euro babies” — what she calls her AP Euro students.

“I love her. I think she’s a great teacher,” George said. “She’s really passionate about the subject, especially European History.”

Brown describes herself as passionate, in every aspect of her life.

“If I like something I really like,” Brown said. “I get really excited about things that I care about. I guess my personality shows it. And I’m Elsa, I let that go. If I’m excited about it, you’re gonna know about it.”