Teaching is “literally” in my blood. My father was a physics and math professor at Virginia State College and at New York Institute of Technology. My mother taught (Special Education) in the New York City public school system for over 35 years. Both of my parents have graduate degrees from New York University.
My teaching début began early in life while instructing my sister, who was diagnosed with a hearing impairment at an early age. As we both grew up together, I would work tirelessly with my sister; as it gave me my first real teaching experiences. During those years, and with the help of my mother, I explored different strategies geared toward the hearing impaired student. After accompanying my sister to many of her speech therapy and speech reading sessions, I got the chance to observe good techniques that I would later use on individuals who had no apparent impairments. My sister’s exceptional needs helped me to become a better teacher.
I have been involved with the Future Teachers Association all throughout my junior high and high school years. In 1968 I received my first paycheck for teaching. This came about just after I had graduated from Morris High School (Bronx, New York). My high school principal “persuaded” me to come back to teach remedial math to students who had failed the Regents math exam for the 1968 summer program. Since I had already graduated with top honors and having completed all of the prerequisite courses to teach algebra, trigonometry, geometry, and calculus, I accepted the job. For 8 grueling weeks, I took on the task of teaching math to 21 students and preparing them to retake the Regents exams. To everyone’s amazement, all 21 of my students passed their exams – the lowest passing score was 83% out of 100%.
Radford University (formally known as the Teachers College) was where I completed my undergraduate study. The Arizona State School for the Deaf and the Blind as well as the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf were a few places I instructed students of diverse educational levels in various core subjects over the many years of my life.
Commitment and unlimited patience with students are essential for being a successful teacher. However, I have learned that being involved with and knowing about diverse cultures also enhances a teacher’s success. I grew up in a cosmopolitan area of New York City, and was also fortunate enough to be able to travel to different countries and meet different people. That experience helped me to “blend in” and respect the wide differences of other people and their cultures.
When I teach and instruct now, I employ and share all of my past experiences and knowledge with my students. I encourage my students to interact with each other and to see past their own differences, thereby enriching the learning environment. It is my strong belief that every child has the ability to learn, in spite of the seen and unseen learning disabilities or physical and mental impairments they may have. It takes a good teacher to find different and unusual ways to help motivate and foster a good, safe learning environment for students; it also takes a committed teacher with patience and understanding to “turn the light on” in students’ minds.
I am committed to have student interaction, diversity, and full inclusion in the classroom. My commitment fosters a richer environment for learning. I am flexible in my teaching methodologies because I know that no single method works all the time for all students. As much as I enjoy teaching, I also find that I am continuously learning from my students.
My own professional development never ends. Participating in teacher seminars, maintaining proper credentials and certifications, keeping up with the latest teaching strategies, and assisting new teachers through mentoring, are just a few steps I have taken to enhance my professional development.
I am a firm proponent of the following quote from Malcolm X who said: “Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” My parents had instilled that belief in me and I intend to implant that into the minds of all my students. Teaching is “literally” in my blood. My father was a physics and math professor at Virginia State College and at New York Institute of Technology. My mother taught (Special Education) in the New York City public school system for over 35 years. Both of my parents have graduate degrees from New York University.
My teaching début began