Ms. McCauley Feature
May 4, 2020
Acceptance takes time, but will Long Reach get used to having a building without the presence of Ms. McCauley?
The Random Acts of Celebration Recognition award was presented to history teacher Brenda McCauley in 2019. She explained that it was submitted anonymously to central office and that it was a recognition of dedication and passion for teaching students. She added that it was given for her “passion, knowledge, and teaching methods.”
Ms. McCauley has been at Long Reach High School since 1996, when the school first opened. However, she has been teaching longer than that. This is her thirty-seventh year. She taught at a Catholic School in Baltimore for two years and at Oakland Mills for eleven years before she started teaching at Long Reach High School.
She has taught U.S. History at the regular, honors, and GT level, as well as World History at the regular, honors, and AP level. Her other classes include African American Studies and Ancient and Medieval History.
Her passion for teaching is evident. When asked what she would be doing if she was not a teacher, she replied “I couldn’t imagine” because she has wanted to be a teacher since she was in ninth grade. She elaborated that while she was in ninth grade, she was taking a world history class and she fell in love with the material.
Ms. McCauley’s inspiration also comes from her Russian and Chinese history high school teacher, Ms. Sullivan. Ms. McCauely commented that her teacher believed in her and that they stayed in touch long after she graduated high school.
Certainly, every profession has challenges. Ms. McCauley stated, “The most challenging part of being a teacher is working with dozens of different personalities every period, every day.”
However, Ms. McCauley said that some of her favorite parts about teaching are interacting with her students, sharing new ideas, and motivating and learning from students. She added that laughing with her students keeps her young.
Abby Paul, a senior who took Ms. McCauley’s honors World History class, stated that her class was always intriguing. “She [Ms. McCauley] did everything in an old fashioned way, and I felt like the kind of authenticity she gave in the classroom helped me learn better.”
Senior Rayna Livingston had Ms. McCauley for U.S. History and World History. Her favorite part of the class was how “thorough and well explained her teaching is.” Livingston added, “She truly cares for her students and wants every student to understand the content she teaches.”
Social Studies teacher Mr. O’Brien commented, “She has the rare combination of having very high standards and the will and skill to encourage others to reach them.”
Her students have a lot to learn from her, but she has also learned from them. She stated that one of the things that she learned from a student was that “people can change greatly.” Ms. McCauley gained this appreciation after witnessing a former student transform into a mature and responsible adult, who is now involved in activities that benefit others.
Additionally, students are not the only people who recognize her passion and hard work.
Mr. O’Brien, who has known Ms. McCauley for more than thirty years, stated, “Ms. McCauley is one of the most generous, kind, caring people I’ve ever known.” He added, “She has a soul I only dream of having.”
If Mr. O’Brien did not have an opportunity to work with her, he said that there would be less joy in his life. “I would most likely be down about a million smiles.”
Social Studies teacher Ms. Milak, who has known Ms. McCauley for ten years, would agree. She asserted, “She has been an amazing coworker and friend to me, and my experiences as a teacher will not be the same without her.”
As this is Ms. McCauley’s last year before retiring, she leaves the people of Long Reach with a piece of advice: “Always do the best you can for each other.”
With advice like that, Ms. Milak commented what we all know to be true: “Quite honestly, Ms. McCauley is irreplaceable.” We will miss her, and her legacy will carry on through her teachings!