Have you ever wondered why your teachers chose to become educators in the first place? Click each photo to see what some of Jericho High School’s teachers had to say.
Chorus Teacher, Mr. Verderber. “I became a teacher because I had a great experience in high school with my chorus teacher, and I always loved to sing. She gave me an opportunity to actually work with the class and direct some songs, and I really loved it. My favorite thing about being a chorus teacher is watching kids when they get an idea or when all of a sudden, something starts sounding right and you just see it in their faces. It’s fantastic.”
Music Teacher, Mr. Roselli. “The band director in the district I was in told me she needed to take a year sick leave and asked me if I wanted to do her job for one year. I did it, and I didn’t realize how much fun it was and how much I enjoyed doing it. I got lucky at the end of the year. They gave me a job. I guess I worked well enough in the district and with the people I worked with. Quite honestly, when I got my first paycheck I was like, ‘Wow, I’m going to get this every other week? All I have to do is go in and do the teaching part? This is really cool.’”
Math Teacher, Ms. Shannon. “I started out with an accounting degree, but I decided not to use that. When I started tutoring my cousin in math I realized that I was having a really positive impact on her life, and I went back to get my masters in teaching. I think a lot of students hate math, so I’m hoping I can reduce that. I want to have some sort of lifelong impact too. I want to make a difference.”
Math Teacher, Dr. DeMarinis. “Halfway through the semester my college professor took a sabbatical. I thought he was going to ask me to teach, but he asked this graduate student. The students who had known me asked me if I could teach the main lecture. That’s how I got started, actually. I went to the head of the department and asked if it would be okay if I could teach the main lecture of the course, and there I was, 19 years old, teaching in a room that had amphitheater seats with about 100 students in the class. I had a microphone and I taught them microeconomics.”
Dance Teacher, Ms. Corbett. “I became a teacher because of my passion for inspiring others, and specifically a dance teacher because of my love for the arts. I always dreamed of teaching dance in a high school and my dream came true. I love teaching because I have the chance to watch my students grow and develop through learning. Teaching also allows me to continue to learn and be inspired with my students.”
Chemistry Teacher, Ms. Roman. “I decided to become a teacher while studying biology and chemistry at Stony Brook. I was offered a position as a T.A. for an introductory biology class when I was a junior, and I helped edit the laboratory manual for the course. While I was initially pre-med, as a teaching assistant I realized how much I loved teaching others about science and sharing my passion and knowledge with my students. I love the creativity that teaching involves, including thinking of new ways to help my students construct their own knowledge of chemistry. For nerds like me, the best profession is the one that lets me stay in school for the rest of my life!”
Spanish Teacher, Ms. Berkovsky. “I started substituting at Martin Van Buren High School in Queens for a Spanish teacher, and I really loved it. On the third day, I was still with the same group of students, and we were all just getting bored. So I thought, you know what? I’m just going to start teaching lessons. I started teaching them, and I realized that I really loved it. I felt like that was what I was meant to do. I just loved the rapport I had with my students. When I finished with the mentoring, they hired me in September. It was really nice because I never ever had any intentions to become a teacher. I am so glad that that happened. You never know what can happen in life.”
History Teacher, Mr. Whelan. “I remember reading a lot of history in elementary school, exhausting the library. I guess it’s because my mom and my grandmother read a lot. My grandmother was a teacher. My aunt and uncle were teachers. Maybe I was born to be a teacher. I ended up thinking that teaching history would be a good idea. I’ve been fortunate enough to teach a lot of different courses, but I think the interaction with the students is my favorite thing about being a teacher. I’ve been really fortunate here at Jericho. We have a great school, and we have some great kids. There is a really genuine interest in the kids to learn.”
Art Teacher, Ms. Gilfedder. “I was so lucky to be Mr. Hunter’s student. His passion for teaching, love of learning, compassion for animals, appreciation of art, enthusiasm for music, and the need to just get up and be creative were so completely contagious. Much later when I graduated high school, I wrote Mr. Hunter a letter. It was our school’s tradition for each graduating senior to give a pin to their most influential teacher. I immediately thought of Mr. Hunter as the recipient of my pin. In my letter I explained my hopes of becoming a teacher and expressed my appreciation for his influence. I attached the pin and sent it off in the mail. I was elated when he wrote back. I still have the letter. My favorite line was, ‘Thank you for making my life!’ Every time I read it I think, ‘No, thank you for making my life, Mr. Hunter.’”
By ALP TURGUT Grace Lin’s “When the Sea Turned to Silver” is centered around Pinmei, a shy girl from a small mountain village, her grandmother the Storyteller, and Pinmei’s friend Yishan. The Storyteller is well known by everybody for the quality of her stories, which she tells in a tall mountain hut where she...