Strong writing ties military history graduate's varied interests together

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If Brian Weber were a circus performer, he would be a juggler with six, seven, maybe eight balls in the air. One or two might drop, but he would seamlessly pick up others and continue with the show.

In Weber's professional life, he is juggler of jobs and interests. He is first and foremost a teacher of English and history, juggling work between a high school, a community college and a university. He is a writer of short stories, poetry and political columns. The Baltimore native, who has two degrees from Norwich University, also dabbles in weather, writing a blog about the vicissitudes of wind, temperature, seas and precipitation on the Chesapeake Bay.

"I identify myself as a teacher, writer and meteorologist," said Weber. "I just decided to try them all, and I don't regret that approach."

Weber teaches English full time at Severn School in Severna Park, Md., where he makes his home. He also teaches English part time at Anne Arundel Community College and military history part time at American Military University, an online school. He has a master's degree in English literature from Washington College, in Chestertown, Md., and a bachelor's in history and English from Norwich University, in Northfield, Vt. In 2007, he received his Master of Arts in Military History from Norwich.

The common theme in all of Weber's endeavors is his interest in clear, concise, sometimes analytical and provocative writing. He expects good writing from himself and his students.

"Writing is very important at Severn," he said. Over the course of four years, high school students are required to write 32 lengthy papers in their English courses alone. "The students later always seem to come back and say all the painful writing and all the late nights paid off."

As a teacher, he takes students through the process of writing from concept through rough drafts, all the way to polished copy. That means offering advice at various stages. "They don't just turn in the paper and get a grade," he said.

"As a teacher, I don't view myself as the expert on any subject nor do I think that I have a wealth of knowledge that [the students] are privileged to tap into."

He describes himself as a life-long learner who grows alongside his students. "I am there to have a discussion with them and help answer questions we all have about life," he said.

Weber's own writing is on display in political columns published several times a week for a local online publication, The Examiner. Weber's columns, written without the help or hindrance of an editor, come "from a conservative perspective," he said, with two recent examples titled "Nancy Pelosi Should Resign as Speaker of the House" and "Socialized Medicine: Different Words, Same Tactics."

Weber hopes his column's readers view him as a conservative "with an independent mind." For example, he breaks with traditional hard-nose conservative positions regarding two American wars; on drugs and in Afghanistan.

"I am more open, maybe, to some legalization, and less open to criminalizing uses," he said of America's drug problem. "I am not sure our involvement (in Afghanistan) will lead to long-term stability in the area or help our efforts in combating terrorism."

Weber advocates America's withdrawal from the war in Afghanistan, citing advice that George Washington – whose life, policies, military strategies and style of leadership he studied while a student at Norwich – gave in his farewell address on the dangers of foreign entanglements.

His interest in both Washington and the weather resulted in a recent TV appearance on The Weather Channel's When Weather Changed History. Weber's focus was not on Washington's leadership at Valley Forge, but on the first president's own interest in weather.

"He loved keeping records and observing; he seemed in awe of all forces of the universe. … We think of him as president and as a military leader, but he also had a great interest in such things as agriculture, inventions and the weather."

Weber traces his interest in weather to childhood, when at age six he "was awed by cloud formations" and later, still a youngster, when he set up weather stations in his backyard. He studied meteorology at Lyndon State College in Vermont and has taken courses offered by the U.S. Weather Service.

"It's a little obsession of mine," he said with a laugh.

Weber is hard to reach via phone or email. He is busy, and concedes that sometimes he feels like he has "too many balls in the air.

"But this is not necessarily a bad thing. Human beings are complex and have many interests," he said.