We both began teaching in 2007 in NYC, but in totally different situations. Then, in 2012 we began teaching at a high school in Manhattan where we learned a lot about what it takes to transform a school, along with a core of other irreverent teachers and administrators. Before we actually met that first year, students and even teachers would talk to Mac, thinking she was Marie and vice versa. People apparently saw something in our faces or our souls that were identical. It wouldn’t be until the last day of school that we would actually meet. On the subway platform. On our way home. Where we then spoke there for hours.
We have been almost inseparable ever since. We briefly taught at polar opposite schools and then came back together to bring forward a new kind of English department at our current school in the Bronx, thanks to our principal who holds nothing sacred unless it truly benefits our students, all of whom are recent immigrants or emergent bilinguals who have been here since middle school.
We launched this blog, our podcast and Facebook community to reflect on our work publicly, getting feedback from others, while also connecting and supporting teachers of immigrants and language learners. We know you are constantly striving to empower and teach this particular group of students in the best ways possible. We know we aren’t alone in our search for better answers, and hope that these tools become your tools.
I taught my first 5 years in the Bronx, the next 5 in Manhattan. And have been back in the Bronx for the past 2 years. I love and believe in the Bronx!! I have always wanted to be a teacher since I was in high school. Thanks to the NYC Teaching Fellows, I started out as a Spanish teacher. Thanks to Mac I now teach Reading and Writing to English Language Learners in an international school. I have fallen in love with teaching again and teaching recent immigrant students is a great way to marry my passion for education and international issues in my favorite borough, the Bronx! 🙂
BA Women’s Studies and Spanish minor in Philosophy, MA Spanish Literature and Education, MA International Relations, Advanced Certificate: Teaching English Language Learners PK-12, MS Educational Leadership for School Building Leader or School District Leader certification (in progress)
I didn’t start out wanting to be a teacher*. For years I was a Reporter/Researcher for a finance trade magazine and then I was an Associate Producer at Court TV (a writing gig). During those years, I was also a passionate activist around women’s rights and police brutality. Then suddenly, I felt the call to become a teacher after studying Spanish in Colombia. The profession chose me; it felt like the most tangible way to dedicate my life to empowering young people, especially immigrants. My first 5 years I was an ESL teacher at an elementary school in Queens (I was a push-in teacher in grades 1, 2 and 4, then I taught grade 3, then a bridge class of grades 4 & 5). I left out of frustration with the instructional model and wanting a challenge. So then I taught ESL/Reading/Writing and learned how to coach teachers at an unscreened high school for 4 years. Aside from intensive training in a student-driven instructional model, I also got the chance to see instruction from the POV of math, science and history teachers there. Now I am entering my third year as an ELA/ESL teacher at a high school for newcomers in the Bronx, a school I hope to call my home until I retire, far into the future.
*I also swore I’d never get married, which I did 14 years ago, and I swore I’d never have children; I now have two. I basically have spent my life proving myself wrong about myself. 🙂
BA in Journalism with minor in Women’s Studies from NYU; MS in TESOL PK-12 from CCNY; MS Educational Leadership (in progress)