By ALEX VERDUZCO
Brandon Ford is a newer addition to the Redlands East Valley High School staff and is in his second year teaching on campus. Before REV, he spent 18 years teaching at Redlands High School.
What does your involvement look like on campus?
I teach two different classes. I teach American government for two sections and sociology for two sections, mostly upperclassmen and then I am the head softball coach on campus.
How do you hope to positively affect the staff and students here at REV?
I think the best way to impact, to be a cog in the machine, is to try and be myself. I am a pretty energetic person, I’m very passionate and I care about my students in the classroom and I care about the players that play for me and I think that the more that we have on campus [students] that the kids know that the staff is unified under the ideas of trying to help them and nurture them through these tough times of school.
How would you describe your high school years?
I grew up in a small town, a farming area, we don’t even have a stoplight still, so it was a small school with about 350 kids when I went to high school. School for me was not easy, it was a struggle having some learning disabilities and things we didn’t know back then, and it made certain subjects hard. And so I had to go and get extra help and tutors in math and science just to get through since nobody in my family had gone to college but I was told at an early age that I was going to. I needed to make sure I was on a path to do that.
If you could leave your high school self a message, what would it be?
What I would tell myself is to just keep doing what I’m doing, keep working hard and have that work ethic—don’t be afraid to get help. Honestly, believe in yourself because you’re going to get there kid, you’re going to be able to achieve this and reach the goals you want to reach so keep believing and trusting yourself.
Where did you attend college?
I started out taking a football scholarship to Chico State University after high school, but they dropped their football program and I transferred to the University of Redlands. I finished there, with my social studies degree. I coached in college for two years while I was getting my masters in education at the University of Redlands. I never moved back home, I fell in love with this place.
What guided you to this career choice?
I was impacted at an early age. I was involved in a lot of sports, my goal was to be a professional baseball player. I was good enough to play in college and was proud of that but I had teachers and coaches in school, who I still tell stories about in my classroom. They believed in me and pushed me. I was an athlete that responded to being challenged and they knew how to challenge me in the right ways. When you put out the work ethic, they notice that and give you positive praise for that and I built relationships with those people. I sat back in class one day as a junior [in high school] and I remember just thinking about what I wanted to do and I thought about these people, teachers, coaches. I thought, ‘That’s a good life,’ you get a chance to be on campus and play a positive role in mentoring these people that are trying to figure out their lives and need more help.
What would you be if you weren’t a teacher?
I would probably be a firefighter or go into the military. What I would have liked to be but probably would have never done is be a DJ or someone working for a company that had to do with music because I love music a lot.
Which hobbies and/or interests would you like to share with students to take interest in?
I believe if you want the students to buy into your classroom then you have to get them to buy into you as a person, they have to know that you are a person with likes and dislikes. I try to show them my love of music and the places I’ve seen, and the bands I’ve seen. I like to talk about sports a lot and life stories in my classroom. I have no problem connecting who I am and what my journey has been and letting the students know that. I feel that making connections with pop culture and making connections to the students helps them buy into you as a person.
Any advice for REV students?
Life is a journey, not a destination, don’t feel like you have to have it all figured out right now. If you do that’s great, if you don’t you’re alright. Life is going to take you down these roads and paths that you’re going to have to choose and sometimes you’re going to pick the wrong ones and sometimes the right ones. Believe in yourself and understand that this is your journey and never lose sight of that. Don’t let the hard times take you far out of your path, you only get one shot. Bet on yourself and believe that you can do this and you’ll succeed. It’s not a race to get to the end, it’s how you get there.