AP Teacher Retires After 31 Years

By Briana Casimir ’17 

June of 2016 marks the last year that Mr. Bret Cohen will spend here in the Hornet community.

After 28 years of teaching in the school, Mr. Cohen has ultimately decided to retire. 1988 marks the year that Mr. Cohen was permanently settled into the school. Given that this was almost three decades ago, Mr. Cohen jokingly refers to himself as “one of the four veterans of Midwood.”

In his early teaching days, Mr. Cohen was sent to various schools and taught at high schools such as Murrow, Susan E. Wagner, and Tottenville.

It was made clear, however, that Mr. Cohen enjoyed all his years in this school as he expressed his apprehension regarding making the final decision to leave.

“I have mixed feelings,” said Mr. Cohen. “This was honestly the toughest decision I had to make.”

Teaching for a total of 31 years is not an easy thing to let go of; however; this difficulty in making a final decision was mostly shown when Mr. Cohen discussed all the positive things that he liked about the school.

“I like Midwood and have no problem with it,” said Mr. Cohen. “It’s a good school with lots of diversity and is filled with good students.”

Mr. Cohen also explained that he liked the fact that the school was safe and that the students weren’t “spoiled”. This means that he felt comfortable in the environment and valued the bond that he created with hundreds of students over the years .

“They’re good kids,” he said. “I’m really going to miss them.”

But over thirty years of teaching has its drawbacks, too.

“I’m looking forward to not getting up at 5:30 everyday, not getting stuck in traffic, and not hunting for a parking spot,” Mr. Cohen said with a laugh.

Imani Stokley ’16 described Mr. Cohen as a fair teacher who cared about his students and tried his best to display positivity and welcoming feelings. He listened to his students and was open to further explain things that were unclear.

“He made learning about government and economics, which could be kind of boring, interesting,” said Stokley. “He was funny and always had a positive mood.”

Nadia Brijmohan ‘16 appreciated Mr. Cohen’s teaching skills and felt as though he was successful in preparing her AP Government exam, which can be very stressful and demanding on both students and teachers.

“He was a great government teacher and he isn’t like other AP teachers who give unnecessary work,” said Brijmohan. “He teaches you exactly what you need to know for the AP.”

After retiring, Mr. Cohen hopes to continue to be a part of the teaching community and plans to provide Advanced Placement tutoring. He also applied for an adjunct professor teaching position at eight different colleges, including St. John’s, Wagner, CSI, and Kean’s College in New Jersey. An adjunct professor is not part of a college’s faculty, but teaches one or two classes and gets paid by the hour.

However, Mr. Cohen isn’t only going to focus on academics during his retirement. He also plans to continue bicycling, as he had ridden over 4,100 miles last year.

“I am a very big bicyclist,” Mr. Cohen said.

Natalia Wiater ‘16 contributed to this article.

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