Why did you want to be a teacher
I decided to teach for a couple of reasons. I wanted to do something
meaningful with young people where I was interacting with human beings
and making a difference on some level. The process of "making a
difference" has been incredibly hard and mystifying at times, but I
think that much of the battle is relearning what making a difference
looks like. I think most people have some preconceived notions of what
that looks like in a classroom, and the real-life version, for me, has
been based more on my personal relationships with students than on
subject material, which has surprised me. I also wanted to be a teacher
because I love learning and exploring - and discovering how to impart
learning and thinking to others has been a great joy.
What is your favorite book?
Right now, it's “Infinite Jest” by David Foster Wallace. No other
contemporary book has blown me away on as many fronts as this one - the
honesty, introspection, and humor. I think David Foster Wallace was one
of the great geniuses of our time, and I'm so glad that he left behind
such a lucid portal into his mind and heart as “Infinite Jest.”
What would you be doing if you were not a teacher? If I wasn't a teacher, I'd be working in international development or freelance writing or both.
What makes your school unique? My
school is pretty unique. As a transfer school, South Brooklyn Community
High School is all about personal accountability, making life changes,
giving students who need it a second chance, and working towards a
better future. Building positive relationships with others is great
because you really end up teaching the whole person.
Favorite student quote: "I used to be the kid that failed everything. Now
look!" A student of mine said this after the conclusion of the first
trimester this year when he learned that he passed all of his classes
and was showing his report card to a friend. Many of our students have
historically struggled in school so it’s incredible to see a student
body at large working together to make such a huge turnaround in their