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Jana Brasser

Retirement Feature:
Jana Brasser

CAMPUS: Grand Rapids Christian High School

ROLE: Educational Support Services Tutor

Where did you begin your career in education?

I began my career teaching with the Pine Rest Adolescent Unit.

How many years have you been working in Christian education, and how long have you been working at Grand Rapids Christian?

I have been working in Christian education for 20 years and with Grand Rapids Christian Schools for 12 of those years.

What schools/buildings have you worked at either before coming to GRCS or while at GRCS?

With GRCS I worked at Sylvan Christian and Grand Rapids Christian High School.

Do you have a favorite year that you worked or a favorite memory? What made this stand out in your mind?

So many!  One favorite is taking all the 7th graders to Plaster Creek several times a year to do integrated studies (water quality, clean up, creative writing, slope measurements, calculating current speed, etc). I have absolutely loved these last years tutoring at the high school. Being with some students for several years and developing relationships with them, seeing them mature, and learning all kinds of things from them.

Tell about a moment in your career that you will never forget, possibly at an event or with a student or co-worker.

I was quarantined for my birthday. When I got back to school the doorway was plastered with photocopies of me on papers. My students had written me birthday wishes and kind comments. After a few days I was re-quarantined (just too close to students in tutoring!) and when I got back from that, my dear tutor friends (and "boss") had planned a take-out Chinese birthday lunch for me. My last birthday at the school and my longest one!

Tell about your most significant learning experience either from a colleague, student, parent, or Professional Development Day.

There have been many: racial awareness with good staff reads, tutor meetings discussing chapters of learning strategy book, watching the wisdom, love, and kindness coming from the other tutors to each other and our students. But maybe the most fun learning experience was with two students who took it upon themselves to educate me about some commonly used "terms" in teen talk. It was all clean fun — ways of agreeing with someone or of saying something was really good, etc. It was fun to learn the current slang terms.

What are you looking forward to, or what is your next adventure?

I feel like Abraham - going out "not knowing", but also knowing that in every path I have traveled, God has prepared the way for me. I am hoping to find a place to live in Tennessee where my son and family (three grandkids) live. I look forward to going to games and performances of my grandkids. I want to try to find some tutoring jobs and do some volunteer work — maybe at the zoo, at an animal shelter, homeless shelter, etc. I would like to learn American Sign Language and have a chance to maybe do a few homeschool classes in math and/or science.

Any other advice, memories, or stories you would like to share?

Take time to reflect on how God uses each experience, each phase of life to prepare you for the next journey. When I look back I see how things I learned at one point were used by God at another point. Trust God that he is with you and will guide you. (Something I need to keep telling myself when I doubt!)

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