‘Taco Bout Teaching: Joy Brawn

By Makenna Adams

Which teacher loves singing, watching hockey, and dissecting rats equally? Which teacher would rather wear a sweater than turn on a fan in hot weather? Why, none other than Westmont’s own Joy Brawn, of course! 

Mrs. Brawn has been teaching at Westmont for six years. Up until this year, she taught freshman biology exclusively, but now, she eagerly devotes a portion of her seemingly endless enthusiasm to two Anatomy and Physiology classes. I talked with Mrs. Brawn about what her experience has been with the new classes, along with the trials and tribulations of moving her curriculum online, and finally, about her personal life.  

What subjects do you teach? Biology and Anatomy & Physiology. 

How many years have you been at Westmont? 6 years. 

How has the experience been with anatomy so far? Great! I am enjoying the subject matter and interacting with seniors. It is fun seeing previous students. And also meeting new students. I love reconnecting with the students that I had as freshmen in biology and are now seniors. It has been a while since I have been able to teach seniors. 

What has been the biggest challenge with distance learning? Not being able to interact with students in person. 

What do you enjoy about teaching?  I love the interaction with students. I like showing [in my class] how fun biology can be. A lot of students come into my class having a negative association with science, so I strive to show how fun and relevant science is. [Science] impacts us every single day… I love showing students how what they do outside of class is related to science.  

What is your favorite unit that you teach and why? For biology, I love the ecology and genetics units. This is my first year teaching anatomy so I am not sure what my favorite will be. 

What makes Westmont great? At Westmont there is a great sense of community. The students are enthusiastic, and excited about participation. There is lots of school spirit, so it is really fun. There is a friendly rivalry among grades, like at rallies, but everyone overall supports each other.

Where are you originally from? Stockton. It is ridiculously hot there so I am very used to warm weather, although anything over 100 is not too fun. 80 degrees however is very comfortable and I always wear sweaters even when it is that hot because I am used to it. 

What High School did you attend? Amos Alonzo Stagg High School in Stockton. The school is named after a former football coach. 

Where did you go to college? At UC Santa Cruz, I got my undergrad biology. Then I went back to Stockton because I had free tuition since my dad worked there, to get my teaching credential.

Describe the perfect meal: It would have to be from Adelita’s Taqueria, although any Mexican food is perfect. I love Mexican and South American food so much. Two summers ago I went to Costa Rica and the food there is fantastic.

Who are your favorite artists? That is hard to narrow down…I’m an 80s girl so I will always love Madonna, Prince, and Rick James. 

What do you like to do in your free time? Singing is my passion. I got vocal chord surgery from yelling at Sharks games, so I have not been able to do it as much but I am still enthusiastic about singing and all things music. I like to play violin, but singing is my primary instrument. And of course I love to watch hockey. The San Jose Sharks are my favorite team. 

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