Welcome Aboard, New Staff Members of Bronx Science!

A celebration of our new staff members.

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Ruby Moran

Mr. Kubiak, a Chemistry and Science Research teacher, is hard at work preparing for a class.

When asked to speak on the effects the Coronavirus pandemic has had on her perspective on education, English teacher Ms. Keehner replied, “I think the pandemic showed me how much students appreciate and value in person instruction and seeing their teachers and classmates.”

Now that all students are back in the building, Bronx Science has provided new students with extra resources and enjoyable activities, from the addition of Big Sibs for sophomores and an extra orientation day, to an early Spirit Week and more to come. Much of the school’s attention has been focused on its ninth graders and sophomores, helping them transition back to in-person learning.

During the past eighteen months when many students did remote instruction at home, many new teachers and other faculty members were hired during this time. Between those hired during the 2020-2021 school year and those hired for the current 2021-2022 school year, there are approximately 35 new staff members.

Recently hired teachers were more than happy to speak about their experience at Bronx Science so far, and all can agree that colleagues and students alike have generally been welcoming and inclusive. “Overall, it’s been a pleasant experience. I like teaching at Bronx Science a lot, and the students are always open to being challenged,” Mr. Zanata, a Regents and AP Physics 1 teacher, said. 

A few teachers shared their opinions on the way the shift back to in-person learning has affected education. Ms. Keehner is an English teacher was hired over the summer of 2021 and started teaching at Bronx Science in September 2021. “This year, I have so many students who are so eager to be back and ready to learn. You develop such deeper bonds with students and coworkers in person as opposed to online learning,” she said. In-person learning has been a drastic change for all of us after nearly two years quarantining at home participating in remote learning. “For me, remote learning was really ineffective. I felt like the students at my old school didn’t learn a lot. It was really complicated coming to a new school [Bronx Science] after a whole year of remote instruction, but I think overall the students here are learning a lot more,” said Mr. Zanata. 

Ms. Chuy, who teaches Spanish 2 and 3, completes work on her laptop. Chuy noted, “It was a big shift, trying to shift that focus from thinking of what to post for my students on Zoom back to paper.”

For teachers, in-person learning is more effective, partially due to the fact that  it allows them to clearly gage how their students are absorbing the material, “When my students understand concepts at the end of class, for them to be able to make connections and have ‘aha moments’, those are my favorite moments.” said Ms. Williams, a Regents Physics teacher.

Most teachers agree that watching a student come to understand a concept is gratifying. With this mutual aspiration among teachers comes the hope that “students will come back after they graduate and tell me they’ve been able to use what they learned in real life, at their jobs, whatever it is,” said Ms. Chuy, a Spanish teacher at Bronx Science. The new staff also expressed several hopes for their futures at Bronx Science. “I just hope that I continue to grow as a teacher and continue to help students grow and just have a really good time here,” said Mr. Jamie Kubiak, a Regents Chemistry and Science Research teacher.

Ms. Maylor, a Bronx Science guidance counselor, quoted an insightful Lena Horne quote, regarding finding inspiration amidst these times of trouble: “It’s not the load that breaks you down; it’s the way you carry it.”

Not only are our incoming staff excited about teaching and contributing to the academic growth of Bronx Science students, but they also have some amazing outside passions that they were happy to share. Some hobbies of the staff members include Mr. Kubiak’s passion for photography, Ms. Williams’ love for painting, and Ms. Maylor’s enthusiasm for reading and jogging. Others enjoy  blogging, international cooking, and taking pilates classes.

Additionally, the new staff have already accomplished much outside of their roles within the classroom. One teacher presented at the Montclair Technology Fair for 6 years, another became the first in their family to earn a master’s degree, and a third previously spent her time teaching fellowships and presenting at national conferences on education.

Aside from these unique passions, it is clear that teaching holds a special place in the hearts of all of the teachers to whom I spoke. Ms. Block, a newly hired French teacher said that she enjoys,  “creating an atmosphere of mutual respect, support, empathy, and kindness in the classroom, and making the classroom a positive space of learning and engagement for all students.” Every teacher noted that they want to help students in a particular subject that they’re passionate about, whether that’s Spanish, chemistry or physics. It all stems from wanting to pass down a specific set of knowledge to another.

So let us celebrate and welcome our new faculty, just as we do our new students. Our new teachers have been able to thrive and educate their students despite immense challenges brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic, and they continue to find satisfaction in their personal interests.   

Recently hired teachers were more than happy to speak about their experience at Bronx Science so far, and all can agree that colleagues and students alike have generally been welcoming and inclusive.

 

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