Posts

Teaching and training are exciting and hard

Image
  My title, "Teaching and training are exciting and hard" won't sound surprising, and certainly is true. I'm working as a student teacher at a high school in the Bronx this summer. The students are here because they need to repeat a class or two. Naturally, most of them are not happy about being in school in summer, and repeating a course is no fun. I'm impressed and grateful when any of them shows a good attitude about participating. Some of the students understand the material fairly well, and they passed the Regents exam I'm helping to teach a class in Global History. History and Social Studies were my very worst class subjects when I was in school. I've matured and am able to understand this kind of material now, but thinking as a teacher is still very hard for me. At the same time, I am taking classes on pedagogy and education philosophy. The work load is considerable, and because of my learning disabilities, writing a lesson plan, hard enough for any

The night before the first day of school

Image
  Today is Monday, July 4. Tomorrow, I start student teaching at a school I admire very much. The faculty and staff might be somewhat different from those I met on the two occasions I visited. The first occasion was an event that the NYC Teaching Fellows and the Bronx recruiting office of the NYC Department of Education (DOE) ran. They offered tours of several schools. I visit four, and they all impressed me for various reasons. At this particular school, I went back for a demo lesson and an interview. I didn’t end up getting an offer there but they gave me very useful feedback which I will use in my upcoming interviews. In other words, I’ll be at this school only through the end of August. By then, I should have an offer from another school. The other will also be in the Bronx, since I have made a commitment to teach in the Bronx for at least two years. Thereafter I can move to another job. This is in exchange for the support I get from NYC Teaching Fellows. And who knows: I might fin

Mr. Reingold graduated from college in 2022

Image
Some people know me as a singer, some as a bicycle mechanic, and some as a programmer or Information Technology specialist. I have been all these things professionally, and teaching is now my fourth career. I studied Computer Science in my second stint as a college student many years ago. (I spent my first stint preparing for a professional singing career.) My IT career started taking off while I was still taking classes, and it was going so well that I didn't finish my degree. To work as a teacher, I need a bachelor's degree (in anything), and then I'll soon need a master's degree in Education. So I returned to Hunter College in 2019, and it seemed as if I was doing it to "screw the cap" onto my IT career just as much as to build a new career. Here is President Jennifer Raab of Hunter College acknowledging my unusual story. She did the same for many of us graduates at the commencement ceremony on June 10, 2022. We all had stories of accomplishments, hardships

Big and small triumphs

Image
Today, I taught a kid to read. LL is an immigrant and has not yet learned English well. He can communicate speaking, but his English is bad, and he can’t read or write. It makes me so sad that he can’t read or write yet and is in 3rd grade. Pandemic cheated him out of a lot of instruction during 1st and 2nd grades. I wonder if he participated at all when school was remote. Another factor is that he is hyperactive, and the teacher doesn’t have time to reign him in and additionally tutor him. Well, I took him, and I also brought along two girls of the same age, FT and MQ. FT is one of the two most brilliant kids in her class, and MQ is an enthusiastic kid who loves to read with me. We went to a quiet room and read Hop on Pop (by Dr Seuss) together. The kids and I took turns reading, and I made LL read what we had just read. He figured out some words. At the end, I smiled big and said, “You’re reading English!” He put on a discouraged face and said he’s not doing so well. I said, “You wil

The Calling

Image
I have had this idea in my head for a long time, and I have avoided writing it until now. I’ve been feeling it’s premature to put it down and put it out. But now I am starting to realize that this idea will evolve over time. Or maybe I’ll just be expressing it differently. There’s no reason to hold off. I’ve had a calling to be a teacher all my life. Sometimes I forget it, because I thought the profession seemed out of reach for me. Or I avoided it because I feared I wouldn’t be able to stand it. My beloved spouse tells me that I have always said I wanted to be a teacher, even though I don’t remember telling her every year. She assures me I do. My beloved father, may he rest in peace, said that teaching is the noblest profession, especially when the teacher is a scholar. He thought he would have been happiest if he had been a History teacher. His most inspiring teacher was a History teacher he had in high school. Dad went to Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn and graduated in app

Tutoring, teaching, and wonderful news

Image
  I've been tutoring in various ways to gain the skills to teach. One of my employers has given me two placements. One is assisting in a 3rd grade classroom at a school in East Harlem. The other is helping 7th graders prepare for the SHSAT, an entrance exam that a small group of public high schools in New York City use. The 7th graders all attend a middle school in Queens. The 7th grade work is remote, so I meet with small groups of students after school over video conference. I turn my camera on briefly so they can see me, and then I turn it off to conserve bandwidth. There is only one student who chooses to turn his camera on. The others never do, and some are even reluctant to turn their microphones on. It's a difficult medium, but many teachers and students have learned to deal with it, and now some prefer it. The exam is in English and Math, and I never thought of myself as a good English student, but interestingly, I find I have things to say about the material. I guess I