By Samantha Castro ’16
Mr. Eugene Resnick is one of the many wonderful teachers in Midwood. Throughout his teaching career, he mainly teaches U.S. History, but he taught global and urban history in the past.
“I feel like with American history you can go more into depth,” said Mr. Resnick. “I’m interested in our society today and how we got here.”
At the end of this year it will be 23 years since he started teaching. He taught one year at James Madison High School and has been teaching at Midwood since.
He interprets history as what people see is important about the past and believes that it changes over time. Also, he mentions that events that were talked about long time ago are talked about differently today. An example he gave was the Civil War. Today, people say that slavery was the central idea behind the Civil War, while during that time period, people thought the central idea was states’ rights. He explains as people argue and fight about a certain idea over time that idea can change.
“History isn’t just what happened in the past.” said Mr. Resnick. “It’s what we decide is important to talk about and that changes overtime.”
In addition, he believes that interpretation is important to history. People have to pick and choose what’s important and interpret it.
“Kids just think what they read in their textbook is everything that happened,” said Mr. Resnick. “Of course that’s not everything that happened.”
His love of history and enjoyment working with young people is the reason why he became a teacher. He explains he likes that kids are open to new ideas because they’re finding out who they are.
“I hope when we become adults we continue to be open to change and new ideas,” Mr. Resnick. “Sadly, some of us, as we become adults are not as open to new ideas as we used to be when we were teenagers.”
What he likes about teaching is seeing kids change and grow when they become interested in a certain topic and debate it. But, he feels like the hardest part of teaching is grading student’s work and giving meaningful feedback because he has so many students. However, most of his students would disagree.
“He takes time to get to know his students and take work seriously,” said Kardin P Ulysse ’16.
Another student from one of his AP classes, Omer Omar ’16, said, “He’s one of those rare teachers with a witty sense of humor and the ability to connect with his students when it’s time to get down to classwork.”
Most of Mr. Resnick’s students love him as much as he loves them. Even though students from both his AP and regular classes describe Mr. Resnick’s teaching style as a lecture, they say he keeps the class energized and lively with his sense of humor.
“He teaches like he’s having a conversion with you about history instead of just telling you,” Lateefah Thomas ’16.
Another student, Michelle Do ’16, said, “He’s always encouraging and seems genuinely happy to be teaching.”
Outside from teaching, he’s worked with Barrons on the U.S. History regents guide for over 10 years and worked on the AP U.S. History guide for four years. His former supervisor who also worked with Barrons, Mark Willner, recommended Mr. Resnick to Barrons.
When writing these guides, he says that the most difficult thing is writing about what’s on the exams rather than writing about what he’s interested in and wants to talk about. He mentions that there’s little room for interpretation in the guides. So to prevent that, he looks at exams and the curriculum, and focuses on the material shown on those exams. In both the books and in his classes, he tries to present interesting information and wants the students to make their own conclusions from that.
“I think it’s a more meaningful way of doing history,” said Mr. Resnick. “The kids are developing their ideas and it’s really exciting to see that happen. They really make the job wonderful and I feel like I’m really lucky to be a teacher.”
By Samantha Castro ’16