6 Word Memoir - Red Hook
I teach English as a Second Language at the Cobble Hill School of American Studies in Brooklyn, New York. Before I moved to Brooklyn, I tried living many different places - Asheville, Chapel Hill, and Raleigh, North Carolina, as well as Florence, Italy and Dublin, Ireland. However, today I wouldn’t be anywhere else but New York. Similarly, before I became a teacher, I tried a lot of different jobs - pasta-maker, bookkeeper, museum guard, radio dj, bartender, welder, classroom assistant… but when I moved to New York in 2003, I looked for work in all of these fields and came up short. I applied for a fellowship that would put me straight in a classroom and send me to graduate school at night, and when I got it, I was anxious about the two year commitment. It seemed like forever. And now, ten years later, my time as a teacher has flown by, and I still feel like I’m learning how to do my job well.
My priority as a teacher is to create an environment where my students are comfortable sharing personal stories and experiences. They write narrative and poetry all year, and we publish these pieces on our class website. At the end of the year, each student chooses one or more of their written pieces to print in our anthology. You can read it all at eslcobblehill.wordpress.com.
Being a teacher takes up a lot of my time, but I consider myself a truly good teacher when I reach the point that I can do my job and have time for myself, as well. I work hard at work, but during the 45 minutes that I walk home to Red Hook, I don’t let myself think about teaching at all. I walk past both of my sister’s houses on the way, and sometimes I go upstairs to visit my two nieces. Some days I take the train up to Harlem to play cribbage with my mother. Sometimes I stop and sketch what I see, or just stare out at New York Harbor. Maybe I go to a yoga class, or running, or for a bike ride. Other days I just lie on my sofa and read, or work on a song on the piano, or listen to music. I love the summers, when my days slowly fill up with all of these activities, but I am excited to be participating in Youth Voices Summer Program this July, as well :)