‘Teacher of the Week’ shares her secret to relating with students

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LELAND, NC (WWAY) — In some schools, disciplinary problems can inhibit learning, but in this week’s Teacher of the Week, WWAY’s Jeff Rivenbark visited a Brunswick County School where there’s a strong emphasis on “character building” and little room for disruptive behavior.

Read, spell, read, is a learning exercise Erin Brangan uses regularly to engage her seventh-grade students in a review of their vocabulary.

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It won’t take long for you to see the students in her class are serious about learning. “Character building” is a key component to learning at The Roger Bacon Academy Day School Middle School.

“I’m a strong believer that discipline comes first and academics will fall into place,” said Brangan.

After earning degrees from Saint Joseph’s University and Long Island University, Brangan landed her first teaching job at The Roger Bacon Academy Day School Middle School where she’s been for the last seven years.



The person who nominated Brangan noted her unique ability to relate with students.

“Honestly, I think its because I was a struggling student myself,” Brangan said. “I think I am able to relate more and I have become more of a rapport builder with my students to help them through the tough times within middle school so they are able to focus on their schoolwork more.”

If her students are down emotionally or having a bad day, she offers this advice.

“Leave all negativity at the door,” she said. “Be positive. Be happy. We’re going to work to the best of our ability to the best we can and we’re going to be successful, together.”

Brangan prides herself on connecting with students on a personal level.

“I want to make sure they are entering a safe classroom, that they are able to come to me and I will be their therapist, I will be their advocate, I will be their mentor,” she said. “So I think having that personal relationship with students you can really get that engagement they need within academics.”

Perhaps the one educator who inspired Brangan’s teaching style the most was her high school Spanish teacher, Toby Marienfield.

“It’s that rapport that I had with her and I had a tough time in high school and it was really–she was someone I could really open up to. So, I try to bring that in with my students,” Brangan said.

“She loves her kids and understands the high expectations that our school holds and she believes in them,” said RBA Charlotte Day School Middle School Assistant Headmaster Rosina Walton. “She understands if she wants the best for her kids is to start by understanding them and really having that connection with them.”

So how does it feel to be WWAY and Mattress & Furniture Liquidators’ Teacher of the Week?

“Its nice to be recognized and I’m truly, truly so honored,” Brangan said. “So, Thank you.”

Here’s how to nominate a teacher you know who is making an impact in the classroom.