Future Teachers Club Visits GSE for Fourth Year
Brooklyn Location Hosts Middle School Visit
Nine middle school students from PS 153 Future Teachers’ Club got an early look at the preparation required to become a teacher during a visit to the Brooklyn location of Touro’s Graduate School of Education on May 22.
This is the fourth year in a row that members of the group, composed of fifth-grade students in a nearby public school, have visited the Brooklyn location. The nine students were chaperoned by PS 153 Principal Carl Santa Marie, who is also an adjunct professor at Touro GSE, along with two of their teachers. As part of the club, students teach kindergarten students and learn about the basics of teaching.
The nine students met with Shoshanah Findling, Ph.D., Touro GSE’s Brooklyn Site Director. “How many of you know what it takes to become a teacher?” Dr. Findling asked.
“It takes hard work and many years of experience,” one student answered.
Dr. Findling spoke about the history of Touro College, as well as the history of the Touro College Graduate School of Education, noting that the school has the distinction of being the one of the largest providers of teachers to the New York Department of Education, which is itself the largest school system in the country.
“I want to help my two brothers and help students who don’t know how to read,” said a fifth grader named Wendy when asked why she wanted to become a teacher.
Dr. Findling also elaborated some of the benefits of becoming a teacher, like the stability of the profession along with the basic fulfillment of the job itself. “Every day as a teacher you have the satisfaction of knowing you are touching lives,” said Dr. Findling.
Principal Santa Marie said the goal of the club is to develop students’ interest in the teaching profession. “We like to expose our students to what it takes to be a teacher and the purpose of teaching,” he said.
After the brief talk, students were asked to write short notes about teachers for whom they were grateful and to post them to the Teacher Appreciation Wall, a poster board by the entrance of the site. One student managed to find a note that had been written to Principal Santa Marie from one of his GSE students. Dr. Findling also took a moment to explain the significance of the painted ceramic butterflies affixed to the walls as part of Holocaust Remembrance Day, as well as a large piece of artwork created after the massacre in the Tree of Life synagogue in October.
The visit was especially meaningful for Chris Smoudianis, one of the teachers who accompanied the group. He graduated from GSE in 2016. “It’s incredibly fulfilling and very rewarding to be here,” he said.
“I’m going to brag about this,” said a talkative female student Mahdeen. “This might be my college.”
Another student, Raja, said he enjoyed the tour. “I knew since fourth grade I was going to be a doctor or a teacher since both help people.”