Take your life seriously — run your life like it was a country, and you, its incredibly egalitarian monarch.

Mrs. Helen Brown

Mrs. Brown is a familiar face on the second floor. She speaks to The Reckoner about her years teaching at Marc Garneau.

How did you get into teaching?

I was living in the same rooming house as John Sewell, and he said to go ahead and read anything in his bookcase. So I did. I was electrified by a magazine called, then, This Magazine is About Schools, which featured radical, political, hippy-esque free schools and documented the challenges teachers met in the regular system. I knew, almost immediately, that teaching was what I wanted to do.

What is your favourite thing about your job? 

When the whole class and I burst out laughing at the same thing.

What is your favourite memory from your years at Garneau?

Helping kids, some in the TOPS program, some not, make the films they wanted to make, no censoring — it was exciting. The Kwik Flix film festivals we pulled off were great, and watching the students working with Atom Egoyan on one of his film projects, and seeing how engaged others were talking to Sarah Polley about her desire to teach during a Reel Canada event was wonderful. People in the film industry are very generous with their time, like Andy Malcolm — the field trip to his foley studio was so stimulating. And I liked that he immediately put on the turquoise mules I brought him over his wool socks and wore the shoes for the whole visit.

What are you looking forward to in the future? 

I hope to work with Chris Haddock, as I think his series Intelligence, and an earlier one, Da Vinci’s Inquest had that tender, tough city feel we all know.

Is there anything you’d like to say to the students of the school?

Respect your instincts and thoughts. If you pay attention to how something makes you feel, or the thoughts something provokes, and you have the courage to communicate those emotions and thoughts, you are on your way to becoming a truly educated person — that is, you are acquiring a kind of wealth which cannot be lost or stolen. Take your life seriously — run your life like it was a country, and you, its incredibly egalitarian monarch.