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Professor Brian Horn Never Thought He Would “Teach Teachers”

by | May 9, 2016 | Faculty & Staff |

“Those who can do, those who can’t, teach.” Ever heard that bit of nonsense? Dr. Horn not only heard it, but he had grown up with parents who were both educators and who wanted to see their son enter a profession that would earn him an easier life than teaching.

So he determined early to become either a chemist or lawyer. At OU, he double-majored in pre-law and chemistry. About teaching, he says, “I did all I could to avoid it.”

Then one summer in college, he found himself interning at Weyerhauser Paper Company with the task of coming up with an algorithm for paper loss and then the task of training long-time employees in the use of it. “It was a lightbulb moment,” he says.


“There I was in front of much more experienced people, and I found that I was able to get them to be receptive to what I was teaching, and I was seeing their lightbulbs going on, and I was having fun. I realized that I had a talent for this.”

But was he going to start all over with education as his major? “Education was saying ‘Choose me! Choose me!’ So I thought, I’ll just get a teaching degree and go to law school.”

Then student teaching came along and teaching younger kids, and he realized, “This is what I want to do.”

His parents were still against it: it’s a low-income career that consumes your life, they argued. But Dr. Horn realized that in law, he would marry the job—and possibly hate it. In teaching, he knew he would marry the job but also love it. And that was that.

He finished a master’s in curriculum and instruction, and then faced another fork in the road: doctorate in education or law school? He chose the doctorate in education. “I had always said ‘absolutely not’ to teaching, and certainly ‘absolutely not’ to teaching teachers! And now here I am, teaching teachers. As I’ve heard many say, ‘If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.’ ”

His parents passed before he got the doctorate, but, he says, “They loved that I loved it. They saw how deeply I was into it.”

Those who can, do—and Dr. Horn can. If the best and brightest do not become teachers, then who will be left to teach? Says Dr. Horn, “If God calls you to teach, do it. God needs the best, and He needs our obedience.”


Dr. Cara Snyder is professor of English and literature at Dallas Christian College and managing editor and senior writer at the Cornerstone.

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