Sitting in my office I start to think about life before my current school. I realize that I have
worked in some amazing schools and have worked in some not so great schools. All of them
have been great as far as safety and staff, but the main difference to me is the kids.
I worked at a school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan as a special education teacher in a co
teaching class and I loved my students. I knew their parents; I knew them better than they did
and it was amazing. I had a connection with them and I am still in touch with a lot of my former
students. However, when I look back on which kids I will remember for making me laugh, cry,
smile and love being an educator, almost all of the memories are from my current school.
In my school now I have many levels of connections with my students. A lot of them call me “Ma”
which I am used to, but some of the parents in this school call me mom as well. Not that they
think I am their mom or they say it with a hint of sarcasm, but because I am the school mom to a
group of the kids.
I had a former teacher when I was in high school and he kept a bulletin board filled with his
students on it. Everyone who walked in his office immediately checked to see if they made the
wall. When I became an Assistant Principal, slowly I began a bulletin board of my own. I was in
the pictures with the students, and yeah most of them had us sticking out our tongues, but I loved
it. One side was designated for my family and the other side was for my students. The students
love looking at the board and seeing if they made it up there, or who had a new picture. It
becomes a conversation when parents come to my room, because they might see their child and
have a smile knowing that someone at the school values them. It creates a feeling of family, and
one student said it best when they told me, “It makes us see that you are here for us and it’s not
just your job”.
I have been at my school for 4 school years and 3 calendar years and I am going to need a new
board soon. The students that go on the board are the ones that pretty much live in my office.
They take tests, eat lunch, take a break from class and basically come to my office at least once a
period. They get freaked out when I am not in my office and text me to find out where I am.
They have become a big part of my life and I have become an integral part of their school and
home life as well. Their parents call me or text me about their children and I just love them and
want only the best for them.
One group of students that I have “adopted” are my Brownsville Boys. Brownsville is a part of
Brooklyn that has a very high gang population. I have a group of 5-6 boys that I call my
“Brownsville boys”. All of them don’t currently live there but have in the past, or are extremely
close with the people in the neighborhood. I had worked in Brownsville in a previous work life
so we instantly clicked. These boys are some of the reasons I come to work. I speak to their
teachers; help them with their current work or making up assignments. Two of them are on the
Varsity basketball team and one of them has an 91 average. The other is working on his grades
and hopes to get them up to be as good as his free throw. One of them is overage, undercredited
and has an IEP. He actually transferred out this year, but still comes by once a month to sit in my office and check in with me, when he isn’t texting me for every question that comes to his