Mr. Bracken is Crack-a-Lackin’

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Mr. Bracken is Crack-a-Lackin’

Kate Roney, Staff Writer

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Kyle Bracken began his adult life landscaping and skiing down mountains, eager new ski students following behind him. But now he is one of Highland’s most beloved faculty members. This year Bracken was awarded High School Teacher of the Year by the Utah Council for Social Studies for teaching AP World History at Highland. Although teaching may not have been his initial dream, it was a happy coincidence that history was the fastest way for him to graduate. The desire to finish college and a love for instructing has led to an 18 year, and ongoing, career in teaching. 

Bracken had been attending college for four-and-a-half years when the itch to move on made him want to get out into the world as soon as possible. 

“I went in and I said, ‘Hey, how do I get out of here? What can I do to get my degree?’ and they said, ‘You’re actually one class away from a history degree,’’ Bracken said. “It was something I had just taken for interest and I said great.” 

Bracken took the last history class along with a few others and graduated with a history degree. From there he had a landscaping company and did a lot of concrete work. He then did some training and found out that he really liked ski instructing. To his surprise, Bracken realized, after thirteen years, that what he really liked about being an instructor wasn’t the skiing like most of the others on the slopes, but that his love for it was in the teaching side of things. This was what initially showed him that he wanted to be a teacher. The last push was that, towards the end of his thirteen years as a skiing instructor, he realized he needed to find a career that wasn’t as physically demanding because his years skiing and landscaping had been very hard on him physically. Bracken went back to school and got his teaching certificate. 

Eighteen years later Bracken is still just as much in love with teaching as he was at the start of this new career.  

“I did my student teaching at Highland and realized it was a good fit for me, it didn’t have the skiing element which made it a little harder that way, but it was just something that I really enjoyed and wanted to make a career out of,” Bracken said. 

When a student understands something for the first time, that is when Bracken finds the best moment of his job, the moment of seeing that he has accomplished something. History may have been a coincidence to get him out of college, but it is something in which Bracken finds immense importance.  

“I like history because it lets you use your imagination. I think imagination is the key to any kind of learning and looking outside of yourself and really caring about other people,” Bracken said. “You get the skill of empathy, which I think is the most important skill that anyone can have. Imagination and empathy that’s the key to history.” 

Bracken is a dedicated teacher who ended up at Highland after a random chain of events, these events and dedication led him to become High School Teacher of the Year. 

“Being a teacher isn’t about loving the content your teaching, it’s about loving the teaching,” Bracken said.

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