By Jacquelyne Gilman ’15 and Dominique Krol ‘15
Teachers reignited their passions through workshops at the Academy for Teachers, meeting celebrities like Stephen Sondheim, all while learning about new ways to teach. Sam Swope founded and leads the Academy. He saw how discouraged and unappreciated teachers were because he had been him being a teacher once himself. The Academy for Teachers is all about honoring the people who teach, inspiring and supporting them.
In order to be put into the Academy, teachers must be recommended by someone who’s already in the Academy. It’s a one day class with an expert. The teachers are asked to bring their favorite lesson plan to the Master class and share it with the others. This way, they leave with new ideas for lessons. They then attend a catered lunch and afterward they get to talk to the fellow teachers who took the class. Midwood has three teachers who have participated in the Academy: Eugene V. Resnick, History teacher, Catherine Kaczmarek and Wendy Guida, both English teachers.
Mrs.Guida took a class with Stephen Sondheim, the lyricist and composer who wrote Sweeney Todd and West Side Story, among many other Broadway shows.
“I’m kind of terrified but very excited,” said Mrs. Guida. “It gives me a chance to study something really special.”
Her class was scheduled for May 21 in the Shubert Theater. It’ the oldest theater in the city and not only was the class in there, it was actually held in a penthouse above it, which is where J.J Shubert used to live.
Mrs. Kaczmarek attended two master classes. One class was with Gail Collins, a New York Times columnist. It was a three hour morning class where Collins talked about the writing process, set up for her article, where she gets topics from, how she got where she is now, and the process editorials go through. Breakfast and lunch were catered. Afterwards, they talked about journalism in schools.
“Teachers are taught things that inspire them and this makes them better teachers,” said Mrs. Kaczmarek.
The second master class was at Frick Museum. They met with an art educator and studied two paintings for two hours.
“It was a thrill to have the entire museum to ourselves. The workshop focused on the educational value of using our powers of observation. It was applicable to many grade levels and subject areas. The teachers who attended were from elementary, middle, and high schools, both public and private, covering science, English, social studies, and Latin,” said Mrs. Kaczmarek.
Mr. Resnick attended two master classes as well. One of them was on New York City during World War II and the other one was an exhibit on the New York historical society for the 100
th anniversary of the armory show. Half the time was spent learning new content with a professional, and the other half was spent talking about how to use that content in a classroom.
“You have to be motivated by the content to do a really great lesson and I met great creative teachers who presented interesting ideas,” said Mr. Resnick.
The Academy for Teachers is a great program because not only does it reward teachers for all they do, but it also lets them have a once in a life’s time opportunity that will change their lives forever