I came to teaching later in life than most. I had never thought of becoming a teacher, nor did I think that I would be any good at it. How I overcame this was through a combination of financial need (I needed a job) combined with creativity.
My current path of teaching, which now has me working six days a week and teaching students ranging in age from three-years-old to those in their sixties, pre-K to college, in addition to special education students, all began with a suggestion made by an neighbor. Knowing that I was in need of employment, this neighbor recommended that I try teaching. In fact, she introduced me to her cousin, a teacher at Parsons School of Design. Through him I got a job as an adjunct faculty member teaching “Critical Reading and Writing” at Parsons school of Design. Then I panicked. How was I going to fill two, two hour and forty minute long classes, every week? I decided I would show a movie in each class. That way I could use up most of the class time. However, I did not want it to just be a case of my students zoning out while watching movies. There had to be assignments and discussions attached to the films. For me, having worked in the film industry as a post production supervisor of feature films, as well as having a masters in film and tv from NYU, showing films has been a natural segue to critical reading and writing as well as sociology. I now teach the latter at CUNY Queens College and CUNY York College.
I will fast forward to the present, some five years later, in which my insecurity about being able to fill time has now morphed into a distinctive teaching style. I use movies – documentaries, narratives and shorts – extensively to teach and explain sociological concepts and ideas. My teaching style has won me praise from students and fellow faculty alike.
I hope to share many of my teaching experiences and techniques through this blog.