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introducing myself

jccohen's picture

I’m Jody Cohen, teacher of one of the ESem sections, and I’ll introduce myself by sharing a piece of my educational autobiography.  I grew up in a suburb outside Washington, D.C. and went to a public school system that was and is considered very “successful,” according to such measures as resources and test scores.  I was an attentive and hardworking student through elementary and middle school, a “good girl” who did all my homework, did well on tests, all that.  In high school I lost interest in school, though, until my senior year when I was part of an experimental Humanities program that took up three hours a day and involved a group of teachers who were excited to be creating this innovative teaching and learning opportunity.  I remember watching a film version of O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night and then standing outside for hours discussing what felt like big philosophical questions the film raised about the purpose of human life; we were teachers and students engaged in a dialogue that was meaningful to all of us, and the usual boundaries of class periods, bells, and roles lost their relevance.  I also took a double period of ceramics that year, and this work with clay gave a visceral dimension to my experience as a learner. 


I had no intention of studying education, and did not think much about that Humanities block during college.  It wasn’t until some years later when I was looking for a job and landed one teaching at a high school in New York City that I realized that this experience during my senior year of high school had given me a glimpse into what education could be, and that now I felt compelled to see where that glimpse might take me… 


Samyuktha Natarajan's picture

Hi everyone!

My name is Samyuktha. I'm from Plainsboro, New Jersey, a little town just outside of Princeton. I am really looking to find what I am passionate about so that I can pursue it and do just that for the rest of my life. I think education might be what I am looking for, so I hope this course will give me a look into the inner workings of the class and education systems and at how I might have a role within it. During yesterday's discussion, I found it extremely interesting that when describing ourselves, we often leaned toward characteristics of personality and interests. On the other hand, had we described and "classified" others in the class (those we don't yet know on a personal level) it is very likely that physical and even class-based descriptions would have been the basis for our descriptors. This makes me think that class is a thought that we've created, something that we perpetuate, something that we have control over keeping or leaving as our society advances.