Jeff Briard named Teacher of the Year
Long-time high school mathematics teacher Jeff Briard, was named Springfield’s 2020 Teacher of the Year.
“It’s been fun, I really enjoy it here,” said Briard.
Briard has taught for 33 years and he has spent 32 years teaching and coaching in Springfield. He enjoys being a teacher at the same school for many years.
“It’s is a lot of fun. I’m now getting a lot of second generation families. A lot of my current parents I had as students. It makes it like a reunion,” said Briard grinning.
Briard is originally from Gaylord Minn., he went to school at Bethany College for two years and then transferred to Mankato State. He got his very first teaching job in Truman and then came up to Springfield and has been here ever since. He’s a high school mathematics teacher.
“I’ve always liked Algebra, the problem solving methodology. All are important in their own ways but it’s my most favorite of the bunch,” said Briard.
His first seven years in Springfield he also taught physics and over the years he’s taught numerous subjects.
Being a teacher wasn’t his original plan. His first three years in college he was set up to do engineering. He changed his goal because, he was from a small country town and he didn’t want to work in a large metropolitan area. With an engineering degree he would most likely have to. He also grew up in sports and got into coaching at Bethany College and then began tutoring in Mankato.
“Those two things guided me into the path of teaching,” he explained adding, “When God gives you a sign you better follow it and I never looked back.”
Through his time in Springfield Briard continued coaching. For over 30 years he coached wrestling and football. He was a baseball coach for four years and softball coach for seven years. He also umpired baseball for 15 years.
He’s since retired from those roles.
He also began SADD and ran it for a number of years. He started the group with three students. At that time it was called Students Against Drunk Driving, and now known as Students Against Destructive Driving. He grew that group through the years.
When asked to describe his style of teaching he explained, I think I’m very organized, concrete and sequential. I teach organized manner and I hold students at a very high standard while interjecting some humor and fun in the classroom.
“Math, being a pretty heavy subject, I want the students to have fun in the classroom. I tell stories and have fun.
It’s about being real and humor is a big part of it,” said Briard.
“Sometimes the kids will say you’re teasing me. The students know that I would never tease them in the classroom,” said Briard, with a completely straight face and twinkle in his eye.
There’s a regular sequence, an order of how he teaches. When the students come into the classroom they know what to expect that day.
Since math is a heavy subject, Briard teaches the students to laugh at their mistakes. It is important to him.
“I want them to feel safe and know what is going to happen. I tell a joke to lighten the mood, or tell a funny story or something,” said Briard.”
“I want to help them through tough times. I want to be there to catch them when they fall and bring them back up,” said Briard. “I love the interactions with the kids. That’s the worst part of distance learning. I so miss the interactions with the kids.”
High School Principal Pat Moriarty stated, “During our distant learning system Mr. Briard has found new ways to deliver his content and I am proud of the way Mr. Briard has approached the task of teaching his students from a distance. Teacher of the Year is a well-deserved honor for Mr. Briard.”
Briard is incredibly pleased with the work that both his current students and past students have done.
“I’m so proud of the them. To see their growth and their success, whether it’s in the classroom or on the field of competition. Seeing them graduating, getting into the college of their choice, or go into the career they’ve always dreamed of. The students I have become my own children.”
Over the years his students have remembered his humor and support. When the announcement was made that Briard was named Teacher of the Year he received numerous messages of congratulations.
“I got congratulation statements from students all the way back to the first seniors I had,” said Briard.
He received phone calls, emails, text messages .
“That was pretty cool! The number of congratulations I got was really, really cool,” said Briard.