Mr. White to Retire After Colorful Career

By Victor Shahov ’17 and Jillian Geist ’17 

The hive will be saying a final farewell to one of its veteran Hornets. Mr. John White, a social studies teacher, will be retiring after 18 years of dedication to the school.

Mr. White has covered the majority of the social studies classes over his career at Midwood. He has taught Global History, American History, Advanced Placement European History, and Advanced Placement World History, which he started and developed. He has also been a home instructor in English and social studies for those who cannot come to school, for a “long, long time.”

Mr. White was a theater major in college, and teaching was something he started to do before he ever knew he would continue to do so for his lifetime career.

“I used to teach tai chi chuan, a chinese meditation,” said Mr. White. “I also taught at the Akiba Academy of Dallas.”

After school, he taught physical education. Then Mr. White came to New York in pursuit of an acting career, and “that’s how I ended up here,” he said.

Franchesca Gumabon ‘17 said, “Mr. White is a great and interesting teacher, and he made class fun by letting us work in our own groups. He told us a lot about his life and his experiences and I always liked attending his class because he always had something new or clever to say.”

Mr. White said that Midwood is a great school, and he likes the diverse population of students with varying levels of academic ability.

“I like teaching all kinds of students, so I really like the super smart students but I also like to help people who need it,” he said. “There have been very few times I’ve found that there isn’t something I can’t like about a student that makes me want to help them.”

Jenna Palme ’17 said, “Mr. White’s class was one I knew I would go to and enjoy myself. Already being a fan of learning about history, it was exciting to have a teacher to talk about my passion with.”

Mr. White added, “It’s a difficult profession, and you have to have a lot of patience. I wish I were more patient, but I think we all do.”

Overall, he had a great experience at Midwood, but is leaving early due to health issues.

The versatile teaching career of Mr. White comes to an end this June, but one closed door leads to many open ones. However, the passion he demonstrates in his classes will not be retiring with him.

“I bought a house on Swan’s Island in Maine, and I’m going to write for my own pleasure,” Mr. White concluded

“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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