Adaptations & Fermentations

Teacher Feature: Mr. Brandon Adams, Teacher of English


Cece Perez

Mr. Adams presenting on the board.

Since we had so many questions and information which we couldn’t include in the video release, this article serves as an extension to the video and includes all of the information we didn’t include. Mr. Brandon Adams is a longtime sophomore English teacher here at ACIT who’s been teaching here for 7 years. In this interview Mr. Adams’ history as a teacher along with his own personal interests and life are detailed and highlighted.

How long have you been teaching?

At this school this is my 7th year. Being in education? It’s been like 11 or 12 years. I was a classroom aid at first and then a substitute for a while, so I’d say like 10 years officially teaching; 11 years in the teaching world.

What led you to become a teacher?

This is probably not the most inspirational thing, but I just liked reading. I had an English teacher who did not love me ‘cuz I would just not do my assignments and be reading in class. Finally one day they were like “do you ever think about being a teacher?” And I was like “I guess I have to do something with my life?” And I’m just incredibly fortunate that I actually fell in love with teaching along the way but it was just a really happy accident. It’s not the advice I give to most people in trying to find a career, but luckily it worked out extremely well for me.

Why did you come to ACIT to teach?

It’s funny, when I was in school I went to Absegami. ACIT was Votech, and it was where students were going for half the day, and I didn’t really know what it was and then when I finally came here, my first year I was an instructional aid so I was like all around with a bunch of the students there were a bunch of different academies, and I loved that. Seeing how passionate and interesting the students were, and this school was my first time teaching high schoolers. Never done it before, and the moment I was in a classroom with highschool students and getting that vibe and the understanding they were coming from? Changed the game for me. I would never go back to primary school. All the credit to the primary school teachers but, this atmosphere; this culture here I think is unmatched.

What do you enjoy about teaching english?

There’s a lot, and I think it changes every week. I like the camaraderie with all the students. I think both Ms Kessler and my co teacher and Mr Green do a really good job creating an environment where students feel comfortable. They can be themselves but they can still be in a place where they can learn, and that’s the one thing I truly have tried to excel at and love at teaching; Creating an environment where students feel comfortable. Being a highschooler is not easy at all, in school and outside of school, so creating a place where students can be themselves and feel free to speak and express themselves is probably by far my favorite thing. Everyday.

What is your favorite piece or favorite piece of literature?

One of the first books I’ve really fell in love with was “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” by Ken Kesey. I was in highschool when I read it, and I remember the moment I finished it, and if you’ve ever read it you know it ends on this big powerful moment, and I was in the middle of class and I slammed the book shut and was just like WOAH! and everyone looked at me funny. But It was one of the first stories when I realized the person you’re following and rooting for doesn’t have to be a perfect person. They can have all of these flaws and not be this stellar hero, they can be someone who has learned along the way and I think, especially as a highschooler, I really identified with that. And I can talk about movies endlessly. I’ll just say, “Rear Window,” “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” watch those two movies and I think you’ll understand my movie taste pretty quick.

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest poster (Fantasy Films 1975)

Would you recommend them?

Oh yeah, absolutely. It’s weird, I watched Rear Window in highschool too and I fell in love with Hitchcock, and that I think is one of those movies where, people who can’t really jump into older movies, if you show them that, show them Psycho show them Vertigo they’ll.. like you’ll automatically know if you’re a film person or not which, is a little pretentious to say but absolutely I recommend them.

What do you think about written media like books which are then adapted into movies?

So, I was just having this talk with my friend talking about “The Last of Us,” which is a video game turned into a show. I am a big comic and graphic novel person, thinking about the Avenger movies and everything. I’m always really on board when directors, showrunners, want to turn a piece of literature into another form of media. I think it’s important to play with it and express it, and I’ve never been that person that gets upset when they change the source material, cuz that’s why you change it. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I watch something and be annoyed by it but, I mean, if more art’s in the world It’s a good world.

Are there any other subjects which you enjoy or would like to teach?

If I was smart enough I’d love to teach Science. I’m absolutely fascinated by it, but what I love about sophomore year is we do American literature, and It’s fun to touch on that, but I’d love to expand on it. I’ve talked to our media center specialist Ms. O a lot about wanting to do a graphic novel and comic class here, granted that’s it’s still in kinda the English subject, but I would lose my mind excited if I could teach comics in this school.

What are some of your current interests or hobbies?

I love food; I can’t say that I’ve always loved it but in recent years, especially during the pandemic, I’ve learned to really appreciate cooking on a different level and it’s kind of taken over so much of my house. I love fermentation? Which is strange? I’ve gotten my hands on kimchi, tchotchke, I always just have jars of things all around my house but cooking food absolutely is one. I feel like every other year I get into another art-adjacent hobby, whether it is drawing, painting, whatever, and I can’t say I’m necessarily great at any of it, but I’ve always loved just trying things. But other than that, probably my biggest hobby is just music in general. I’ve been a self taught musician for nearly half my life, I have a record collection that is weighing down my house right now, I’ve always just loved music.

What do you think about kombucha?

I love kombucha, and I understand if someone hates it. I used to make it and I had the scoby, the weird little gross, living bacteria, but mine died. But yeah if anyone took a sip of kombucha and spit it out I’d be like yeah I get it that’s why I like it.

Picture of kombucha scoby taken from (sewcream)

What’s an interesting piece of music or creative act you have found recently?

Recently? I recently got back into an artist that I always keep coming back to and his name is Daniel Johnston. I guess he’d be referred to as outsider music? A lot of his music he just did by himself with this beat up little Casio in his garage and just like beat the thing up, but his lyricism has been beautiful, and his life was really difficult and I’ve learned a lot from him. If you’ve been in the classroom you’ll see like, rumblings of him. This is a graphic novel based on his life, he’s always just around. If you’re interested in him or wanting to learn more, there’s a documentary called “The Devil and Daniel Johnston,” made about his life which is amazing, um, and the album “Welcome to My World” is a great starting point.\

Picture of Daniel Johnston (Rolling Stone). (J McConnico)

What is your home life like?

Um, it was uh, relatively boring for a while, it was just me and my dog since the pandemic but actually last week my girlfriend just moved in with our one eyed cat, so now it’s the two of us with a cat and a dog. I feel like saying normal is a bit boring but, I’m a 32 year old, I have my core group of friends. It’s funny seeing students outside in the world and they always kinda have that like “what are you doing out here?” and it’s like I’m a- I’m a person. But yeah like I said my house is kind of like a chaotic museum. I just have things, and stuff, you turn one corner they’ll be an old crank record player, turn the other corner I have like a fossilized mammoths’ tusk, I just like, I dunno, I’ve always been that person that tries to express themselves a multitude of ways and I feel like that’s gone into my home life.