A question for DJ Brimer ('00), career-changher

What do firefighting and teaching have in common?

Teaching sixth grade is very much like being a firefighter/ EMT. How do I know? I have walked both paths in life.

The firefighter receives an alarm, responds very quickly, arrives on scene, conducts a scene size-up, triages the event, and makes tactical decisions to either eliminate the fire, conduct a rescue, or provide medical care.

Teachers essentially conduct the same process. They receive student academic performance data, respond rapidly with appropriate instruction, arrive at conclusions based on student assessment information, conduct formative and summative decisions about academic pathways, and move forward to eliminate learning gaps and boundaries. Not to mention the social, emotional, and developmental emergencies that teachers navigate with students daily at school.

Teachers put fires out, too. They just use pencils, chalk, and dry erase markers instead of fire engines, hoselines, and irons.

I have enjoyed both adventures tremendously. The next three-alarm response is just around the corner.

Brimer (English - Elementary), with his daughter Natalie. After 10 years as a fire fighter and fire academy instructor, he’s a teacher at Tumwater Elementary.