My son Tony

The Math Teacher: First online math lesson

The Inspirational Leader: 

Someday we WILL find it, the Rainbow Connection.  Just this week he shared the story behind the song. My son who flew even with the snow storm canceling flights to Washington D.C. from London to be with me when I received the White House Champion of Change Award.  My son who flew into Galveston to celebrate my 70th birthday on the beach, which I love.  My son who received the Outstanding Boy Award in 1992 from the Alief ISD Board of Education when I was a teacher at Elsik HS. Where I was able to be his computer science teacher in a co-teaching class with Mr. Bildy.  My son who received the Secondary Teach of the year award from Austin ISD in his 3rd year of teaching. I remember him saying, Mom, you never told me I would be putting in 80 hour work weeks.  My son, my motivator to keep avoiding for the heroes of today, the classroom teacher.  Special performances …

Hi Mr Bracht,

To start off with, I want to say thank you for EVERYTHING.
You have made such an indescribably positive difference in my year, and you brought back my love for math. I have enjoyed every moment of calculus this year, and so much of that came with getting to be in your class and seeing you every other day. The first time I met you during the Bangerz and Bash auditions my freshman year, you were so kind and supportive, and it made me so happy to see you on my schedule senior year.
The other day, before the AP exam, you mentioned the song “Rainbow Connection” that Kermit sings in the Muppet Movie, and how it always makes you happy and calms your nerves because it reminds you of when you were in elementary school. I recorded an arrangement of it this week after hearing that, and I really hope you like it! I attached it at the bottom of this email 🙂
Thank you again for such a wonderful year, and high school experience. The constant support and love you give to each and every person you meet don’t go unappreciated, and I will be forever grateful for the impact you have had on me!
All the best,
P.S. I know you also said that another one of my videos came up on your YouTube “Up Next” autoplay videos, so I thought I’d send you the link to my channel since I’ve been posting a new one each week 🙂

August 10, 1996 – A Few Words for New Teachers

I wrote a letter to my son on his first day of teaching a decade ago. “A Few Words for New Teachers” was published in the Houston Chronicle August 10, 1996. Now, my other son is teaching, so I read it again and all so true. This motivated me to keep writing as it was read on the local news station.

… You provide the encouragement and intrinsic base for learning.  Please remember all you can do is your best.  Love and encourage your students.  Help your students to make the right choice, to listen, to work, to study, to have the self-discipline to take responsibility for their education.  …

I shared with my other son Andy, as he is a teacher of music at Austin Community College. I wanted to send my love and excitement as you begin something fun and new. Trying to get others to work to learn and ask the right questions so they can.

I would like to send the same encouragement to all the new teachers in Houston, especially the Teach for America leaders that I met one summer.  I want to add parts from the original letter, as these teachers are in the hardest schools in Houston. Adding this to my editorials August 2018. The letter below was submitted prior to the Houston’s Chronicle’s online site so can’t search. Adding because I find the system has not changed.  We have empowering teachers and those who just do their job.  That is why I continue to volunteer.

My letter

You have just graduated and should be prepared for your job as a teacher.  But my heart cries. I fear you are living in a naïve world, as do all those who have never taught the unmotivated, undisciplined student day after day. I fear you will get discouraged by the criticism of the public, politicians and parents who blame you for their child’s failure.

But, please don’t take responsibility for the student’s failure to learn. It will kill your motivation to teach, students learn and parents provide the encouragement and intrinsic base for learning. Help your students to make the right choice, to listen, to work, to study, to have the self-discipline to take responsibility for their education.  Help your students to love learning as much as you do.  Keep caring. That is what students see. That caring will motivate achievement more than all the laws, materials, money and lessons around.  Don’t hurry, be patient. It takes time to learn. Keep your motivation alive and have fun teaching.