By Andrew Yoshioka
SAN JOSE, CALIF. – David Brodsky has been a teacher at Silver Creek High School for seven years and his English class is a unique experience.
One who enters his classroom might find themselves surprised with the setup and arrangement: there are no desks. Instead, the students sit at coffee and dinner tables. The reason for the class’s odd setup is due to a year spent as a student-teacher under the wing of former Silver Creek teacher, Mrs. Weckesser. While there, one thing she said stuck with him: “If I could, I would replace every desk here with a dinner table.” It would help the learning environment seem a lot less stressful, which should give the students a clearer space for learning. When he was given the chance to become a full time teacher the next year, he spent $150 on dinner tables for his classroom.
Brodsky ultimately became an English teacher because he wanted a job that could support him that he could feel passionate about. While he originally wanted to have a job as a civil rights lawyer or a literary critic, he settled into the role of a Silver Creek High School English teacher fairly well. He said “I’m not living in any fancy houses but this job has enough to support me and it’s a nice job where it doesn’t ever feel like work.” Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, he continued to teach despite the difficulty.
When it comes to teaching, Brodsky stresses reading as much as possible. Like most English teachers at Silver Creek, he has a library of books that is supported by his own purchases and student donations. He is part of several book clubs and even does a lot of reading himself. Some of those books go into his class library. When asked what his biggest advice to students was, it would be to read a lot, stating, “Books can teach you so much. There’s a lot you can get from them that you can’t get by simply watching a YouTube video or reading a webpage.” His classroom is an environment where any student can try and improve as he believes a growth mindset is the most important thing in education.
Brodsky also strongly believes in social justice, hence why he considered becoming a civil rights lawyer. He believes that it is important for students to stay informed on current events in the world, which even ties back into reading. Brodsky stated, “There are people reading the news but [they] are believing the wrong information. I’m fine with people having different opinions but they all need the right information.”