May 3, 2011

        I’ve been both a teacher and a student (both in New York City public schools) so Teacher Appreciation Day is also Student Appreciation Day for me. As a student, I remember best my 7th grade science teacher, Mr. D., exhausting the air in a tin can and my gasping as I watched the tin can crumple inward under the pressure of the atmosphere. I also vividly remember hearing my 7th grade English teacher, Ms. K., reading aloud a sonnet by Edna St. Vincent Millay. I fell in love with poetry that day, an affair that still lasts.

As a teacher, my favorite memory is of once teaching a science lesson and the bell ringing to signal the end of the period in the middle of the lesson. The students spontaneously groaned at the interruption, then burst out laughing at themselves, grabbed their books and raced out of the room. But for that brief moment, they paid me the highest compliment one can ever give to a teacher: their complete interest in my lesson.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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