Mr. Thomas Bennett, an English teacher at Charles F. Brush High School, has been teaching in the South Euclid-Lyndhurst City School District for 20 years. A native of Rocky River, he attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and graduated from Duke University with degrees in English and Philosophy. He returned to northeast Ohio to work in his family’s plastics business, serving as a salesmen for 15 years. He is an avid sailor as well a convert to Judaism. Once presented with the opportunity, he fulfilled his longtime goal of becoming a high school English teacher.
When asked on his thoughts regarding the “Brush experience,” he noted the strength and rigor of the upper level honors and AP programs. “Those courses have been solid for years,” explained Mr. Bennett, who teaches 11th grade honors English. “I’ve really enjoyed working with my students throughout my career.” His one complaint is the increasing lack of focus among students of this new generation, which he blames mainly on technology. “It’s become a huge distraction in schools.” A class with Mr. Bennett is not complete without an oratory on the negative consequences of cell phones. He looks back on his time at Brush with fondness, with a great appreciation for his colleagues. “I was in the middle of two generations of teachers, with those who retired in the 90s and those who filled their shoes.” The most difficult part of his job would probably be discipline. “[Discipline] is always the hard part about teaching high school wherever you go.” Still, he has greatly enjoyed his time teaching and the relationships he has built with his students.
Mr. Bennett ended his interview with insightful observations and words of wisdom regarding our changing culture. “Society’s values are shifting. We’ve sadly become more materialistic, chasing after affluence.” He notes that student motivation is down due to the rise of electronics. “It’s unfortunate,” he noted. While he states that his time in the classroom has been rewarding, he wouldn’t recommend going into the teaching field in today’s age. “Teaching was once a very prestigious profession, and it seems that the respect for it has crumbled in recent years.” He hopes to see teaching return to a “noble profession” in our society.
Mr. Bennett has been a professorial fixture within the halls of Charles F. Brush, engaging his students in philosophical discussions regarding America’s greatest literature. His “Great Gatsby Dinner Party Skit” is a favorite project among the juniors in his honors class. He is just another example of the excellence that can be found in the faculty within the SEL schools.