Meet Christopher, Fellow since 2005.

I chose to become a Fellow largely to duplicate the work of some amazing teachers I had throughout the years—teachers who in different ways changed my life for the better.  I wanted to give back.  And there is no better city to work as a teacher than New York City.

 

My students are my greatest motivating force.  Most of my students are black and Latino young ladies and gentlemen from different parts of the Bronx.  I generally work with at-risk students with low skill levels and behavioral challenges—many have a documented disability and/or are English Language Learners.  Because I have been teaching for so long, I have had the privilege of seeing my students come in as freshmen and leave as mature, independent, and charming seniors.  Seeing this growth is extremely motivating. 

 

My major contribution to my students and school has been the role I have played in developing our special education department.  Over the years, our school’s student population has diversified, and we have had to meet this new challenge with flexibility.  We have improved our capacity to balance an inclusion philosophy  - where to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities are educated with children who are non-disabled - with an obligation to provide an appropriate education to all students.  My major role at school is to ensure that our students with special needs get as much support as we can provide so that they can thrive academically alongside their general education peers.

 

To be a successful at teaching,  we have to stop blaming students and external factors for underachievement and force ourselves to think outside the box to come up with effective means of instruction.  Understand your students.  Establish relationships with your students.  Your students need to trust that you have their best interests at heart.  And finally, get ready for a life-changing experience—get ready to assume the role of teacher.