The Power of Teaching: A Gift That Gives Years Later

As a child growing up in New York City enrolled in the public school system, I changed schools at every level of education (i.e. Elementary, Middle and High school). This meant I sat in the classrooms of upwards of 50 different teachers. Some of these teachers I liked, while some less so. Then there were some who changed my life. The most prominent being my high school Global History teacher, Mr. Moscow. At the time, I did not realize how much of an impact he made on my life, but now, I can reflect on my one and a half years in his class and I see his influence. Mr. Moscow made me want to learn about anything and everything. In his class, my appetite for new knowledge could not be curbed. One of the most memorable and innovative assignments of Mr. Moscow’s class was his requirement to come to class each day having read the front page of the New York Times. While I definitely spent many mornings worrying about his infamous pop quizzes about the news, it was through this assignment that I first started reading about Palestine, which ultimately led me to apply for a fellowship at TYO in 2013. In considering my time as a student in his class in light of my last six months as a teacher with TYO, I have realized  the importance, impact, and need to invest in quality, caring teachers.


Across programs, TYO’s teachers are incredible. Be it the Core teachers of TYO’s Core Early Childhood Education program, the local interns of the Academic Support program, or the Teaching Fellows of the EFL program, all of the teachers demonstrate such care and commitment to their classrooms and act with incredible selflessness. As I walk down the hallway each day, I am inspired by countless instances of thoughtful teaching: I see Masa, an academic volunteer, holding a disabled student’s hand as they make their way to class together, I see Amy’s EFL class erupt with laughter while inventing a fantastic story, and I see the giggling students of Ahmad’s Core class as he playfully presents them with art supplies for a craft project. Just as these instances of inspired teaching continue to impact the students within TYO, they have impacted me: every day I aim to be the best teacher I can be for my students. The teachers at TYO also act as a reminder of what academic institutions around the world must strive for; although teaching English grammar or multiplication in math is important, being a teacher is about supporting your students growth as people, and inspiring them to be the best versions of themselves.  I know this is true because Mr. Moscow’s Global History class was just that for me. Yes, it was a time to learn about the Silk Road, but superseding this, it was a time to become a more thoughtful, intelligent, young woman.


So, as I prepare to leave TYO for the unforeseeable future, I cannot help but think back to my class with Mr. Moscow and feel immensely grateful for his efforts as a teacher, and think of the teachers within TYO and feel immensely hopeful. Each day the lives of humans, ranging from four years old to fifty years old, are being molded to create a more beautiful, peaceful world. I feel honored to have been surrounded by such caring teachers for the last six months, and I hope one day my students can look back and see a little bit of Mr. Moscow in me.

- Kyra, Summer 2016 EFL Fellow

The English as a Foreign Language (EFL) program is part of STEP! II, a youth employability, empowerment, and community leadership initiative supported by Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation.