Playful, entertaining, and absolutely informative, our Get to Know series allows the personalities of the faculty and staff who make up the Darlington Community to shine.
Brian Inman has taught Upper School history at Darlington since 2002 and is also the junior class grade level chair. Students lovingly refer to him as "Binman" and his bow ties are almost as legendary as the note-taking required for his class. He holds a B.A. and an M.A.T. from Carson-Newman College. He has been recognized with the Significant Contributions to the Darlington Community Award and Darlington's Oscar Betts '19 Master Teacher Award, Beachum Master Teaching Award, Excellence in Teaching Award, and George W. Awsumb Faculty Award. Brian and his wife, Tara, who is dean of students for global education, live on campus with their children, Maggie ('19), Davis ('23), Wesley ('23) and Harrison ('26).
Let's get to know Brian!
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Kentucky, but I grew up in South Pittsburg, Tenn. until sixth grade and then Crossville, Tenn. through high school.
Tell us a little about your family…
Tara and I have four kids who all go to Darlington. Maggie is 16 and a junior at the Upper School. I have identical twin boys Davis and Wesley who are 13 and in seventh grade. Our youngest son Harrison is 10 and in fourth grade. We moved to Darlington when Maggie was 2 years old and have lived in dorms as well as houses on campus. Darlington is truly their home.
Why did you choose Darlington?
Tara is from Rome and most of her family has gone to Darlington, so we knew the school pretty well. We were living and working at a boarding school north of Chicago and were looking to move closer to home. We came and interviewed in 2002 and I was hired as a history teacher and Tara was hired as a head of house.
Your eight word philosophy on education is…
PASSION for the subject that drives a teacher to continuously expand his/her knowledge and alter his/her methods to keep things new.
KNOWLEDGE of the subject matter that is continually updated through the study of new material and professional development.
HONESTY with the subject matter as well as with the students and parents is key in building a learning relationship.
TIME must be invested in and out of the classroom in order to do the job correctly.
SACRIFICE as related to the time you take away from other things in order to help students outside of the teaching period or grading assignments to return them in a timely manner. In addition to sacrificing time, a good teacher must be willing to sacrifice money and materials to create the best learning experience.
COMMUNICATION of the material as well as expectations with students is key to creating a learning atmosphere. It is also important to communicate those expectations with parents and continue that communication as needed. Finally, sharing ideas with colleagues in order to improve in the classroom is a great way to find new ways of teaching.
PARTNERSHIP is the attitude a teacher should bring to any learning situation. Students must know that the teacher and student dynamic isn't an "us and them" relationship. We are in this together. The teacher will mentor, assist, and challenge students who will in return, listen, model, and work so that both can do their best.
HUMILITY is necessary part of any teaching philosophy. Many people refer to teaching as people who serve the "greater good." A teacher's goal is to help his/her students go into life and achieve the same or greater success than he or she has. In a profession like that, there is no room for arrogance or pride. The best teachers lead through serving their students and others.
What makes a good teacher?
A good teacher has a combination of knowledge and passion for their subject as well as an ability to communicate with students on their level. A good history teacher must also demonstrate that modeling skills for students is just as important as teaching the information.
What music is playing in your car?
I would say I listen to classical, but my kids would tell you that I'm always listening to 80s music.
What’s your favorite podcast?
In the past I've enjoyed listening to TED Talks as well as lectures from iTunes academy on historical subjects.
Who was your favorite teacher (and why)?
In high school, I had a great U.S. history teacher names Mrs. Akins who was a great lecturer. When I first began teaching, I modeled myself after her. However, as teaching styles have changed to be less lecture and more student centered methods, I have combined Mrs. Akins with my senior English teacher Mrs. Parrish who always had us reading, writing, and speaking in class.
My favorite movie is…
What makes a good student?
Someone who is eager and willing to work.
My favorite trip was…
Tara and I took a group of students to Italy, France and Spain a couple of summers ago.
If I could travel anywhere it would be…
E-book or hardcover?
Hardcover (I really love audiobooks!)
Beach or mountains?
The last book I read for fun was…
“Vermeer's Hat” by Timothy Brook
Four people I’d like to take to coffee…
Mark Twain, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and Helen Keller
The best advice I ever received was…
Teaching is a job that is never done. You can put a cot in your classroom and sleep there, but you still won’t complete all the things you want to do. At some point it is necessary to set boundaries and let go for a while.
My hobby is…
I like to exercise, read books and go to movies.
Cats or dogs?
I have a dog.
Only my friends know…
I have tons of historical facts floating around in my head, but I have trouble remembering people's names.
When I want to crush karaoke, my song is…
“I Would do Anything for Love” by Meatloaf
My favorite saying is…
Mrs Parrish had this saying posted on her wall, “Lack of preparation on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.”
What I like most about Darlington is…
I enjoy how our students set ambitious goals and push themselves to succeed.