Teacher Stories: Tim Brennan Brick Memorial High School Health and Physical Education
I started a class called Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs. We self-funded the entire program. I went to different fishing clubs, spoke about what I wanted to start, and raised money that way. And I put it all over social media, and people jumped on board, donating money, fishing rods; and people really wanted to help. Everyone in these fishing clubs wanted to see the next generation continue on with fishing. They are not going out buying bait, and support their local fishing bait and tackle shops. What it is is the bait and tackle shops are having a hard time competing with online prices, and they are definitely struggling, and we are slowly losing all of them. The fishing is so giving though, it’s so great. We also got a state grant that I worked on for four years to get. I wanted to do something besides the basic gym class, and I had this idea, and it has really exploded. You can’t beat it, I get paid to take kids fishing: it’s so great, and I get to help kids.
It’s a class that’s just for seniors. It counts as a credit for their Phys Ed. It’s 20 kids, we meet 5 days a week, from 10-12 each day. We meet in class three days a week, but two days a week we get on a bus and we can go fishing anywhere we want for those two hours. We have fished the canal, the inlet, the river, been on fishing yachts, The Gambler, did a canoe trip at Double Trouble State Park, and other places. In the classroom, we get a bunch of professional speakers to come, and it’s so good. We also collaborate with the culinary class and they will cook what we catch. We link up the special needs kids, and they are catching fish and it is such a blast.
My favorite trip of the year is the Double Trouble Canoe Trip. It’s an awesome ice breaker. I would say the majority of them flip over, but they work together to get to upright, and it puts everyone on a level playing field. In our class, they also get CPR First Aid qualified and they also get their Coast Guard boating licenses too. To see a kid’s face light up when they catch a fish is so great. I think kids these days get a bad rap, everyone knocks them saying they are on their phones all of the time, but if you find something for them to do, they’ll try it.
- Interview by Gregory Andrus. Photos supplied by Tim Brennan