British Literature

Firefighters discuss career with literature class
Posted on 09/18/2018
Firefighters discuss career with literature class

Firefighters visited the PBHS English Department on Friday, Sept. 14, to speak with seniors about how the themes they have been reading such as bravery, heroism and courage relates to the profession. 

The British literature curriculum was reorganized this school year to include a college/career readiness component, according to instructor Jennie Randolph. The firefighters are the first of a series of guest speakers incorporated at the end of each unit of study, as opposed to holding a single career day. 

“We are talking to members of our community that can emphasize how those themes relate to their career field, showing the students occupational paths not always highlighted as well as how the literature we are reading is still relatable to the real world,” Randolph explained. 

Justin Maddock and Justin Moyers of the Poplar Bluff Fire Department discussed how they got started in the field, the certification process and what the day-to-day on the job is like. 

“Are we heroes? I don’t know; there’s a certain amount of courage that goes into the job,” said Moyers, a former U.S. Marine. “To me, something heroic is a decision you make at a certain time when you know you’re gonna face life or death, but you do it anyway.” 

Maddock, who was serving as acting captain, added: “It’s just what we do. If it wasn’t us two, it would be two other people doing the same thing.” 

The firefighters work one day on, two days off, in 24-hour shifts. Their headquarters are similar to a three-bedroom/one-bathroom home with a two-car garage, they commented. Some days there are no calls, while other days there may be multiple structure fires they respond to. The work can be physically demanding, they agreed. 

The firemen replied affirmatively when Leland Weaver, a student, asked whether the department ever receives requests to rescue cats out of trees. Maddock offered the class a tip: “When the cat gets hungry, it will come down from the tree. It’s nature.” 

The students will follow-up on the activity by writing a reflection. The next theme is going to be ‘ambition’ inspired by William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.” Randolph said she and colleague Baily Koppelmann hope to book a legislator. 


Cutline: Poplar Bluff firefighters Justin Maddock and Justin Moyers participate in a Q&A with PBHS seniors.

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