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teaching

Faculty Q&A with History Teacher Anastasia Georgoulis

Even as a child, Anastasia Georgoulis had teaching in her bones. In grammar school, she felt a sense of responsibility towards her classmates, always ready to lend a helping hand with homework or a social problem.

“I was the kid to whom classmates went for help,” recalls Anastasia, who grew up in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

That attentive, protective spirit intensified during her studies at New York University, where she graduated in 2008 with a B.A. in history and later earned a M.A. at Teacher’s College.

 

Teaching Turgenev's Novella "First Love"

Like many of us, high school students are often attracted to stories with characters going through similar struggles and life changes. I have found some success teaching Alan Sillitoe's novella The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1959), whose 17-year-old protagonist from a working class home, Colin Smith, has been caught burgling and is sent to a reform school. Discovering Smith’s gift for running, school officials enter him in a cross-country competition.

Pi for Everyone!

Happy π Day!  If you are a numbers geek, you might already know when this day is celebrated. If you don’t, it’s on March 14, which has been designated as National Pi Day (made official by Congress on March 12, 2009).  Pi Day is celebrated all around the world and has a special place at The Beekman School, as well.  I started celebrating it a few years ago, as it was the perfect opportunity to share my love of math, pi, and pie with the students at Beekman.  

Teaching Faulkner: A Snopes You Can Believe In

For me, the best way to teach William Faulkner is to begin with the Snopes, that ornery, duplicitous, barn-burning family of itinerant farmers, blacksmiths, bigamists and bank presidents.  Faulkner does not come naturally to most high school students, and he can be particularly hard to decipher for born-and-bred urbanites, too many of whom see his backwoods people as little more than players in a freak show. The key is to get students beyond a character’s eccentricities to his or her nobility.

When Students Tire of the Written Word

New Yorker essayist Joseph Mitchell once wrote, “When things get too much for me, I put a wild-flower book and a couple of sandwiches in my pockets and go down to the South Shore of Staten Island and wander around awhile.” It is the first line in “Mr. Hunter’s Grave,” which relates Mitchell’s discovery of an old African-American burial ground still lovingly tended by a local minister. 

Beauty in Simplicity: Why I Teach Hemingway

The first beautiful thing about teaching Ernest Hemingway’s short stories is that a teacher is pretty much guaranteed that every student has read the assigned story by class time. That’s because Hemingway is so readily accessible, so seemingly simple. In fact, when I teach “Indian Camp,” the first story in the collection In Our Time, I tell students, with a straight face, that Hemingway wrote like a nine-year old.

Faculty Q&A with English Teacher Michelle Koza

Michelle Koza comes to The Beekman School from the trenches of New York City public schools.  Born in Brazil to a Brazilian mother and an American father, she grew up loving books and left her home country in 2001 to attend Boston College, where she earned a B.A. in 2005. After working for a year, she attended the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, earning an M.L.S. in library science. In 2008, she was chosen to become part of New York City’s highly selective Teaching Fellows Program, which placed her in some tough inner-city high schools.

Faculty Q&A with English Teacher James Vescovi

James Vescovi loved to write stories since the time he could hold a pencil. He grew up in Michigan and attended Miami University, majoring in English. After spending a year abroad, he earned a Master’s degree in American literature at Columbia University and then worked for twenty-five years as an editor and freelance writer before coming to Beekman.

How did you end up becoming an English teacher?

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We are welcoming students to class this spring either via a hybrid in-person/online learning model in NYC (following our Spring Break), or via fully remote, synchronous online classes.  Learn more about our response to COVID-19 >