Twin Tacoma teachers John and Ryan Prosser have left middle-schoolers behind for a new set of students: other teachers.
The identical twin brothers had been part of a humanities teaching team, sharing a classroom and students at Giaudrone Middle School since the start of the 2010-11 school year.
But this fall, the Prossers moved out of the classroom and into Tacoma Public Schools’ downtown headquarters as instructional facilitators.
John is training teachers about the new teacher-displacement process that grew out of the settlement of the 2011 teachers strike in Tacoma.
And Ryan’s new assignment has him explaining a new instructional framework that Tacoma plans to put in place. State law requires that districts, by fall 2013, implement one of three instructional frameworks approved by the state superintendent’s office that align with the revised teacher-evaluation system.
“We are trying to de-mystify it,” Ryan said.
Is there such a thing as too much brotherly togetherness? Not for these two, who graduated from Curtis High School in 1998, then attended Western Washington University and Boston College together, before completing law degrees at Seattle University.
“I love working with my brother,” John said. “Our desks touch. We sit closer now than when we team taught.”
Last spring, the Prosser brothers learned that they both were being displaced from Giaudrone, as the number of faculty members at the middle school was reduced.
John had served on the joint teachers’ union-district administration committee that came up with the new displacement agreement. But neither he nor his brother was able to benefit from it. That’s because the new assignment system didn’t take effect until this fall, and the brothers were displaced in the spring.
Now, John is telling teachers how the district’s new reassignment system works. He has visited more than half Tacoma’s schools to talk about the system he helped create.
He said teachers usually start out uneasy, but that his job is to ease their fears.
Both say that while they miss the classroom, they’re happy in their new positions.
Asked which is the tougher audience, middle-schoolers or teachers, John said diplomatically that “they’re different crowds.”
Ryan said his middle school kids often had more issues they were dealing with outside the classroom, such as poverty and homelessness.
“Working with students,” he says, “the stakes are higher.”
Debbie Cafazzo: 253-597-8635