Teacher Feature- Mr. Fleming
By Sophia Braccio (Grade 10)
Mr. Fleming has a great sense of dedication and wonder for his students, job, friendships, and the world around him. These are infectious attitudes, so it is natural that they not only benefit, but transfer, to his students. In his 5 years at North Phoenix Prep, he has taught eighth grade literature and composition, ninth grade poetry, ninth grade music, eleventh grade Humane Letters, and Twelfth Grade Humane Letters. He currently teaches seventh grade lit comp. Additionally, he serves as the Editor of the Gladiator team Dimachaerus, advisor to the journalism club (making it fitting he is the first student written teacher feature), and a member of an administrative team referred to as the “table team”. He grew up in New Castle Delaware and attended St. John’s college in Annapolis, Maryland, but is happy to now call Phoenix home. In his free time he enjoys exercising, playing video games, and grocery shopping.
How or why did you become an educator?
“I haven’t always loved school but I want structure to my life and school provides that for me. The second part is that I don’t ever want to stop learning. I understand that teaching is my ‘job’ here, but being in a learning community is something that is very vital to me.”
Currently you teach seventh grade lit. comp. What would you say is the best part about teaching middle school?
“There’s more joy in a middle school classroom. In the teenage years you start to get a little,” he paused, “jaded. In a middle school classroom you can have fun but we’re still capable of learning a lot and doing great things. You wouldn’t think of me as being the loudest, craziest person, but I get to be the orchestrator.” He added to his answer that, there’s a challenge to having a student who has a lot to learn. “They are a good canvas for receiving education.”
If you could add any work of literature to the Great Hearts curriculum, what would it be?
Mr. Fleming found this to be a difficult question, not because it is something he has never considered, but because he has put a lot of thought into it. He finds the Great Hearts curriculum is already “packed” with literature. However, after his experiences instructing upperclassmen in Humane Letters, he believes students would benefit from some early 19th and 20th century psychology, which ties into the philosophical approach to studying the soul, but would teach young people about the formation of their souls in a new way. He also would like to see more German authors.
As a teacher, you spend a lot of time advising your students. If you could give one piece of advice to your middle/high school self, what would it be?
Mr. Fleming was visibly caught off guard by the question, but after a moment of consideration, confidently answered that he would share with himself, “You are trying really hard, and that’s ok, but it’s not that serious.”
What is your proudest accomplishment outside of your teaching career?
“In terms of physical accomplishments, it has been the Grand Canyon rim to rim to rim ultra hike,” which he has done twice. He enjoys the hike’s tremendous physical challenge, as well as the brilliance of its setting. “I’m not trying to sound cliche, but there is so much beauty in the Grand Canyon. Going down the South rim before the sun comes up, you get to see the sun illuminate the whole canyon. Then you suddenly see these great rock walls that you didn’t know were there because your headlamp only lets you see 3 feet in front of you.”
What’s a fun fact your students might not know about you?
Students of Mr. Fleming probably know that his best friend is Humane Letters teacher Mr. Olsen. However, they may not know of their adventures together, which include driving a long distance to get psychic readings for fun, and holding a multi restaurant chicken sandwich tasting contest. Mr. Fleming has video evidence of Mr. Olsen declaring Popeyes to be the winner.
To clarify this for all the student readers, were you in fact the creator of the 80s hits playlist at the High School retreat?
“I am solely responsible for that playlist.’’ Additionally, Mr. Fleming takes credit for the electronic music played during the night time games.
For more student journalism and student news, read the
, North Phoenix Prep’s student newspaper.