I’ve taken great pride in creating an African American Studies course for my school that explored not simply African American History, but African Americans through the lens of history, the arts, and culture. Gearing up for my third year of teaching this class, I was notified that I was going to teach Latin American Studies… Continue reading The Apollo Video Oral History Project
“Mister, can we speak with you?” three young ladies asked as they approached me one day between classes. They were there on behalf of a fourth young lady, their friend Danielle. It was prom season and Danielle wanted to go but didn’t have the funds. From time to time I would anonymously pay for things… Continue reading A Very Special High School Prom Conspiracy Abetted By A Very Special Teacher.
I sent out the following tongue-in-cheek email to my family and a few friends on my last day of teaching: Did you hear about the disturbance that took place in Harlem at 11:45am today? Apparently there was this teacher dancing down the streets in celebration. He walked out of the rear door of his school… Continue reading Why Was This Teacher Doing The Funky Chicken On 116th Street in Harlem?
A bit of what follows will seem defiant to some readers. To other readers, my point of view will be like preaching to the choir. Be that as it may, I’m simply writing about my approach to teaching. As my career progressed, I decided that I was going to stop doing stupid and hopefully do… Continue reading “I Chose To Stop Doing Stupid and Start Doing Smart”: A Veteran Teacher Reflects on Lessons Learned.
Most of my students are visual learners; I’ve written before about the role Broadway musicals played in my classroom before I retired in June. Motion pictures played a strategic role as well. I wanted to make connections through film that would help students retain content knowledge in my Global History, U.S. History, African-American Studies and… Continue reading This Veteran NYC Teacher “Meets Students Where They Are.” How? Let’s Go to the Movies!
One of my very best childhood friends who has known me since we were the same age of the students that I’ve taught over these years had a question for me. He asked, now that retirement has arrived, what were my goals when I first began teaching and did I meet these goals? An interesting… Continue reading Veteran Teacher Explains How He Went From A “Babe In the Woods” to “Developing a Clear Vision.”
One of the most difficult challenges we face as educators is preparing our students for life after they leave “the bubble”. What I mean by “the bubble” is the exclusive Black and Brown world my students currently inhabit and navigate. They are almost exclusively Black, Latino, or Muslim. In school, most, but not all, of… Continue reading How Does This Harlem Teacher Help His Black and Brown Students Navigate Life “Outside the Bubble?”
I’d like to tell you about a friendship I developed with a fellow teaching colleague, one that grew from a complete loathing for one another. Michael Crump was our school’s athletic director, basketball coach and dean. He was also a licensed social studies teacher. In the role of a dean, you are responsible for maintaining… Continue reading ‘Why are you taking your time?! Do your damn job!’: An Unlikely Friendship Between Two NYC Teachers.
One day I was walking through the 30th Street train station in Philadelphia when I heard someone shout, “Hey you!” Surely this wasn’t meant for me. I was a stranger to Philadelphia after all. But this was followed with, “Boy! Don’t you hear me calling you?!” I turn around this time and see a somewhat… Continue reading “Your Job is to Let the White Kids Know that Black Kids Are Just as Smart as They Are, And You are Not Doing Your Job!”: A Teacher’s Reflections
“Did you guys hear? Benny broke his leg!” “Praised be, Benny broke his leg!” “Whew. I’m sure glad to hear that.” The news went through school like a whirlwind amongst the staff. Now, who would be happy that someone broke their leg? Teachers! You see, Benny was our former student, working a job at the… Continue reading Sometimes College Isn’t the Best Choice For My Students — And I Couldn’t Be More Proud