Apart from early childhood and four years of college, Teacher Louie Brown ’15 has almost always been around Haverford. Twenty-five years old, Teacher Louie has spent sixteen of those years at Haverford, as a student for fourteen years, and recently, as a teacher of English I and English III: American Literature for the past two years, and last year, Ancient World History.
“I wanted to be a teacher, and I always had this idea that I would love to come back and teach at Haverford,” Teacher Louie said. “It’s sort of my dream job.”
After majoring in English at Vassar College while also taking education classes, Teacher Louie wanted to engage with a community that held significance.
“I really like the idea of recommitting to a place,” Teacher Louie said. “I like these kinds of long-term things that help my life feel like it has continuity and consistency.”
In college, Teacher Louie expanded their ideas on education and began to understand the desire to teach at Haverford.
“But throughout College, especially with taking education classes and learning about pedagogy and progressive education and how deep of a craft and a science teaching is, I thought it would be just cool to come back and work here,” Teacher Louie said.
One of the areas of personal importance to me in education is in gender and sexuality.Teacher Louie Brown ’15
Still, Teacher Louie did not expect to devote years to Haverford so early in a teaching career.
“I really had always thought that I would go out, and I would start my career in other places, and I would come back to Haverford as a very seasoned teacher. And so that was extremely different because I came into Haverford as a complete novice, and I had to do so much learning, and I’m still doing so much learning,” Teacher Louie said.
After returning, Teacher Louie has recognized similarities and differences between past and present versions of the school.
“There was a lot that I was surprised by when I came back, just in terms of how much students knew and were tuned in to issues of social justice and social rights and the language and the vocabulary of those kinds of fields,” Teacher Louie said. “Because when I was here, besides the people in the Diversity Alliance, no one knew anything about that.”
Beyond the increased awareness of social justice, Teacher Louie saw a through line in the quality of education.
[single-sex education] is a model of a pre-twenty-first century, digital-age society—and things are changingTeacher louie brown ’15
“The student body at Haverford is particularly good at following rules and paying attention, I think, or at least they were responsive enough to me,” Teacher Louie said.
Teacher Louie provided a memorable presence on campus, managing to challenge outdated norms and push students to think critically, while remaining a gentle, kind figure.
“One of the areas of personal importance to me in education is in gender and sexuality,” Teacher Louie said. “So it was kind of an appealing idea for me to be in the center of masculinity and see what it felt like to try and change things or observe things and understand things better and then move the dial a little bit.”
One of Teacher Louie’s most striking ideas about gender is about the existence of Haverford as an all-boys institution.
“I think there will be a big audience for [single-sex education], but I also think it is not very modern—I think it’s a model of a pre-twenty-first century, digital-age society—and things are changing,” Teacher Louie said.
Despite these ideas on education—or more likely because of them—Teacher Louie focused on being the best teacher they could be inside of the classroom.
“I have these big ideas about pedagogy and education and all these issues or things that I perceive that could be different in our education systems. But at the end of the day, it’s like I’m really one person, and I want to make sure that my space and the thing that I have the most control over is the model of what I want the bigger things to look like.”
For the moment, Teacher Louie plans on staying in the Philadelphia area, taking on some part-time jobs, and working on “life skills” outside of the teaching profession. After that, Teacher Louie will probably go to graduate school, possibly in Environmental Sciences or Environmental Education.
Still, if there is one thing that Teacher Louie has learned, it is that life surprises.
“Even though I’m here in this same geographical space, it’s like I’m not even close to the person that I thought I would be when I was in high school,” Teacher Louie said. “And I’m really happy about that, and I’m happy that I’ve lived a life that has surprised me, and that has led me to understand new things about myself and what I care about and what I like.”