CAROLLTON, GA — Timothy Brodeur’s path to becoming an educator began for him in eighth grade. Drawing inspiration from three pivotal seeds, his story highlights the power of passion, character, and authenticity in education.
Brodeur’s journey began with what he refers to as his first “seed of interest,” planted by his eighth grade Georgia Studies teacher who sparked curiosity and ignited a passion for education early on.
“His distinctive quirkiness, style, and boundless enthusiasm served as the initial catalyst for my career in education,” said Brodeur.
The “heart for teaching,” Brodeur’s second seed, grew during his sophomore year of high school.
“I found myself helping some of my classmates in our Geometry class and tutoring two of them outside of school,” he said. “I remember after helping them understand a problem or a concept, I would have a great feeling of joy and accomplishment radiating through the depths of my heart. It was such an addictive feeling and I knew teaching math would bring that feeling to the forefront of my life.”
His final seed, which he calls “character,” came to be during his college years.
“I chose math in secondary education since my seeds of interest and heart came from those grade levels; however, another teaching vocation piqued my interest during this time, the priesthood. My dilemma was, which path would I take?”
Living at the church with Father Rafael and participating in a pastoral year, Brodeur said he learned that teaching was more than just presenting facts.
“The pastoral year required me to shadow the priest and aid him through all of his duties from him saying mass, baptisms, weddings, funerals, visiting the sick, visiting families, and teaching the youth. These experiences gave me perspective and showed me that teaching was also about being a role model and bringing value into the classroom.”
These three seeds paved the way as Brodeur began establishing his own classroom community.
“When I first started teaching, I wondered how I could bring enthusiasm and a surprise element into my own learning environment”, said Brodeur. “One Friday, I decided to introduce the Friday Song, which was a song that a radio host sang every Friday over the air while my mom drove me to school. To surprise the students, I did a cartwheel at the end of the song. From that point on, it became a staple in my classroom. Little did I know that ‘the cartwheel’ was just the beginning.”
Another turning point in Brodeur’s journey happened when he watched the documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”. The similarities he saw between Mr. Rogers and himself inspired him to continue Rogers’ mission in his own neighborhood.
Brodeur transformed his classroom into a week-long Mr. Rogers-style show, complete with songs, daily sayings, and the creation of his own classroom mascot. Brodeur said these special, extra touches helped him connect with students on a deeper level — promoting both character and math education.
“My three seeds are my passions for my teaching career,” said Brodeur. “I had to first seek an opportunity and accepted one at Carrollton City Schools. Then as I pursued that opportunity, I brought my passions and worked to get good at my teaching craft. I learned to love it when I applied enthusiasm, authenticity, and character. See, teach is just a five-letter word like brain, write, smile, heart, and money. What ultimately matters is what you do with it. I tell myself that each and every day. So my challenge to you is how are you going to put life into the word teach?”
Brodeur’s impact on his students and other faculty members led to his selection as Carrollton Middle School Teacher of the Year for 2023-2024. He and Teachers of the Year for other district schools – Becky Benefield, Carrollton High School; Kristina Bivins, Carrollton Elementary School; and Christine Carter, Carrollton Upper Elementary School, are now vying for the district honor to be announced at the Oct. 3 Board of Education meeting.