Seldom do students and teachers practice gratitude and self-analysis like in our Latinos in Action...
Brandon Dorathy has worked as an Itinerant Teacher, Inclusion Specialist, Special Education Coordinator, Team Lead, Co-Teacher, and much more– he’s lived many lives and garnered a wide range of experience. And, just as importantly, he’s worked with and met many different experts in education. His unwavering desire to create meaningful connections with students elevates their education, and he has an unusual capacity to use the whole school as an asset for his students.
Brandon didn’t intend to become an educator but grew into one over the years. He started as an American Sign Language interpreter, tending to students with hearing impairments. However, the longer Brandon worked as an interpreter in schools, the more he recognized opportunities to aid students better. Brandon eventually became an Itinerant Teacher assisting the hearing impaired, later working as an Inclusion Specialist and Co-Teacher for students requiring intervention across a gamut of roles– leading him to his time as a Co-Teacher at Provo High School.
He recently hosted a lesson for his Life Skills students that used a biology lesson on the heart and circulatory system he previously taught with his co-teacher, Lorien Francis. Brandon started class by asking students to draw a diagram of the heart and lungs from memory, and all of his students managed to draw an anatomically-accurate recreation of both. He then brought the life skills students into the biology classroom to handle a real pig’s heart and lungs for students to investigate.
Students brought their prior knowledge into the classroom, allowing students to realize how knowledgeable they already are in the subject, engaged by the hands-on and personalized nature of the lesson.
Creating a lesson like the one mentioned for students with disabilities is exceptional, but these asset-based, cross-curricular lessons crop up regularly in Brandon Dorathy’s class. He loves working with other teachers to create distinct, stimulating pathways into the curriculum while offering unique experiences for his students. He utilizes the school as his Professional Learning Community, using every teacher as a mentor. It’s a wise approach to extending learning. But, more importantly, at the core of his pedagogy, there’s real heart, too.
“I just want students walking away from my class to know they’re loved. All learning starts with real connections, and making connections is why I’m here.”