Garrett Reed teaches English as second language (ESL) at Wisdom High School (formerly Lee High School) in Houston, where he has been teaching newcomer refugee and immigrant students since 1993. Garrett notes, "In the ensuing 23 years, I have been privileged to teach 3000+ students from at least 50 countries speaking 70+ different languages (at last count)!" In addition to his teaching duties, Garrett is Newcomer Department chair and teacher coach at Wisdom.
Compassion and understanding guide Garrett's approach to his students.
When a student enters my room, I'm real clear that sitting down at a desk in a huge comprehensive high school is not only a cultural shock but an emotional one as well. Before I open any book or assign any work I try to make each student feel safe, accepted and loved.
[Because they] come from war-torn countries, persecution, genocide, famine, and a plethora of other horrors, I make sure I look each student in the eye as they walk in and let them know they are home. It's only when students feel they are safe that the learning can begin.
Garrett graduated from the University of Saint Thomas in 1990 with a BA in History. In 1992 he earned teacher certification from the University of Houston, with an emphasis on second language acquisition. After a brief stint teaching ESL to adults, he answered an ad for a position at Lee High School, and the rest is history.
Garrett has been named ESL Teacher of the Year by Lee High School (2003), HISD (2004), and TAABE Texas (2004). In 2016 he was Wisdom High School Teacher of the Year. He has been featured and published articles in the
Houston Chronicle. He is now working on a book entitled
Trading Places, about his experiences teaching English to newcomer students.
Hear about the lives of the remarkable young newcomers Garrett has taught over the years when he shares their stories at PAIR's 5th annual Youth Empowerment Luncheon, Friday, May 4, 2018. Reserve your seats now at the
. If you cannot attend, please support young refugees in Houston through
PAIR's annual fund