Henrico’s Top Teachers – E. Scott Broderick

As a self-professed “career switcher,” E. Scott Broderick spent years in a variety of sales and management positions.

But even before he followed his heart to teaching, as he puts it, he always found ways to be involved with children, whether through volunteer work or his hobby: performing as an amateur magician at local libraries.

Although he recalls no “light bulb moments” of inspiration to be a teacher, he does have fond memories of all his elementary teachers – from the first grade teacher who was also a neighbor and the second grade teacher who instilled a love of music to later teachers who taught him to love reading and writing.

What’s more, he admits that teaching is probably in his blood, since his father (who went on to become a principal and superintendent) was his physical education teacher while he was growing up.

Today, as a fourth grade teacher, he finds the toughest classroom challenge is engagement, which he describes as “finding fun ways to get your point across so that it will be understood and retained by everyone.”

A long-time Ridge Elementary parent who has had a child in his class calls Broderick’s teaching style “amazing” and says he excels at getting his point across and at engaging his students through conversation.

Not only does he display genuine interest in what interests students, wrote the parent in her nomination, but he also taps that knowledge in ways that inspire them to succeed.

“Mr. Broderick is never one to be comfortable with his technique,” she said. “He is always looking for new strategies and technologies to make sure that each child is reached.”

Her own child learned from Broderick how to use creative writing to express herself, said the parent, and also acquired a love of Virginia history that has enhanced the education of the entire family.

“We often take day trips,” said the mother, “to places she has discovered through her learning in school.”

The student’s mother also observed as Broderick’s patience and firmness with a difficult classmate of her daughter’s turned that student around. Although the boy’s behavior was “erratic” and a source of frequent disturbances, she said, “[Broderick] held the bar high and yet taught the child that he had the ability to reach it.

“Mr. Broderick learned what interested him and used it to motivate the child to learn. I saw this boy develop and grow with every visit I made as a volunteer in class.”

Not only does he inspire youth, added the parent, but Broderick also serves as a mentor to fellow teachers and future educators through volunteering as a lead teacher for VCU practicum students, serving as a representative for county and state professional organizations, and participating in mentor-buddy programs.

Over the years, he has also served on committees charged with such tasks as framing the science curriculum, reviewing discovery science and social studies scope and sequence, writing curriculum for fifth grade social studies and developing a fourth grade pacing guide. In addition, he has served as a team leader and as sponsor of the safety patrol, and participated on the school-wide Title I committee and the principal’s advisory committee.

To top it off, she added, Broderick attends every school event and often helps with PTA programs, from emceeing auctions and talent shows to performing in skits and magic shows.

And what does Broderick receive in return?

Like any teacher, he enjoys seeing the “ah-ha” moments when students make a connection -- shifting from a blank stare at hearing “400 yards” to the glimmer of understanding when he explains the distance as four football fields long. “It’s rewarding to see it sink in,” says Broderick.

Another teaching moment that never fails to warm his heart, he says, is when students grasp the concept that “work ethic is tied to success – and then apply it in class.”

Finally, as the parent of a new kindergartner who enjoys seeing his daughter go eagerly off to school, he especially likes to hear from a parent that their child enjoys coming to school.

“Teaching is its own reward,” says Broderick. “It is important not only to like kids, but also to like making a difference in their lives.

“There is a distinction.”
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The Rotary Club of Short Pump meets every Tuesday from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Keagan’s Irish Pub and Restaurant in West Broad Village. On the fifth Tuesday of the month there is an evening social hour – check http://www.shortpumprotary.org for time and location. Full text

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