The Student News Site of The NYC iSchool

The iNews Network

The iNews Network

The Student News Site of The NYC iSchool

The iNews Network

The Student News Site of The NYC iSchool

The iNews Network

New teachers at the iSchool

At the iSchool, there are always new teachers bringing in their unique personalities and exceptional teaching skills to teach classes in a plethora of subjects.  The 2023-2024 academic year has welcomed five new teachers to the iSchool community, and they could not be more excited to become a part of this team. 

Mr. Rodriguez was one of iSchool’s many new additions last year. He currently teaches a broad range of Social Studies classes, including US Current Events, US History,  Advanced Placement United States History, and  Mexican Revolution. He even plans to teach a new module next quarter. Mr. Rodriguez has been teaching for six years and counting, and says that time has helped him “learn to connect with students and be more aware of how they’re doing in class.” 

Mr. Rodriguez in his home base of room 501 preparing a lesson before 1st period.

One aspect of the iSchool that Mr. Rodriguez admires is  the ability for “teachers to have  strong relationships with their students.” These connections can particularly be seen through the core advisory program at iSchool.  

Georgy Piedraa, an iSchool senior whose taken Mr. Rodriguez’s Mexican Revolution class,  says he “like[s] his sarcasm; it helps connect with students a lot better because a lot of other teachers come off very formal. But Mr. Rodriguez makes it feel safe to relax.”

Mr. Rodriguez is a teacher students often go for advice, as well. Amongst other ideas, Mr. Rodriguez always recommends that students should “pursue classes that they are passionate about instead of only worrying about the credits you need to graduate high school.” He believes that high school is a place for students to begin exploring their interests and be given the opportunity to gain insight on them. 

Teacher Jabari joined the iSchool in the 2022-23 academic year as a Physical Education teacher. While this is their first year as a DOE teacher, Teacher Jabari has ten years of teaching experience. They’re known for the welcoming and engaging space they create for their students.  In their time at the iSchool, Tr. Jabari has learned that students are “unpredictable, and everyone has different needs. [They] learned that you just have to be open and ready to adapt to the type of energy you’re going to get due to cultural differences like parental differences. There are so many things that can shape a student.”

Teacher Jabari in the Weight room leading their 8 AM Physical Education class.

An anonymous sophomore at the iSchool said, “I really appreciate Teacher Jabari’s bright mood especially when I’m not in a good mood and I come in, and it’s just a light up of the room. The work isn’t so rough and its flexible depending also on what class you in weather in 8 am or regular class, Teacher Jabari work is flexible to not make it another work to add to the pile we already have from other classes”

Teacher Jabari has had a substantial impact on the iSchool.  They always make sure to hype up students and their fellow co-workers, creating an inclusive environment for everybody.  This is evident through Tr. Jabari’s advice to their students: “You know what . . .just do it.  Whatever it is that you want to do, just do it!”

Mr. Kelly is another new addition to the iSchool community. He primarily teaches Global Current Events and serves as the Rosetta Stone coordinator for students. While this is his first year at the iSchool, Mr. Kelly has been teaching for four years. He has learned that it is “important to be very patient with students and how different teaching styles can affect how students will learn.”

Mr. Kelly during lunch, preparing to teach his next period in room 409.

Mr. Kelly particularly mentions that he “appreciates how iSchool’s classes are organized quarter by quarter,” and how “students are in a variety of clubs where they’re able to explore their interests and career paths.” He is happy to be a part of the friendly and welcoming iSchool community that prides itself in “unconditional kindness.” 

When asked of advice that he’d give to students, Mr. Kelly recommends that students “don’t worry too much when people ask you like or what you want to do when you grow up. Don’t feel pressured to push yourself into one box or fixate on one thing.” Instead, it’s best to “keep an open mind through college or any training you go through once you leave iSchool.” 

Mr. Kelly admits that “he didn’t plan to go into teaching, so it goes to show how you never know what path you’ll go down.” 

Ms. Rygalski, most commonly known as Ms. Jen, is another recent addition to the Social Studies department at the iSchool. Ms. Jen teaches a number of required Global History classes including Global Current events and Prisoners of Geography whilst also teaching her module Untold Stories. Ms. Jen has twenty-three years of teaching under her belt and says she’s “learned a lot from students in the process. [She] came to figure out that it’s okay to not be so serious with students because they’re very personable open to new ideas.” 

Ms. Jen teaching her Global Current Events students, explaining an example of the assignment they’d begin working on.

Ms. Jen loves teaching because she  loves “connecting with students and helping them in their process of learning.” And Ms. Jen’s influence can be seen through the work ethic of iSchool students. Sophomore Amanda Shay, a Global Current events student, says, “Ms. Jen’s way of teaching just made sense to me. I always needed clarification with transitions and when to use certain words, and Ms. Jen was always willing to explain it to me. She was patient and took the time to make sure I understood what she was saying.” 

With twenty-three years of prior experience, Ms. Jen has had lots of time to understand the do’s and don’ts of student life. She recommends being “open to challenges; it’s not about memorizing ideas or memorizing information, it’s about being able to share what you learn.”  She believes this is how “students can be pushed to think creatively, and that’s something [she] really [wants] kids to take advantage of.”

Another new addition to the iSchool community is science teacher Mr. Maillet. While a teacher for fourteen years prior to his arrival at the iSchool, Mr. Maillet is still picking up new skills from the iSchool. He teaches Living Environment, but has also been able to explore and teach electives including “A Day at the Zoo,” “Soul Science” and his module called “Is There a Doctor in the House?” 

Mr. Maillet states, I think module has been challenging because there’s so much time in class.”  But “the benefit is that students have the opportunity to work on one thing and really flesh it out.”

Mr. Maillet grading Mastery assignments in his home base of room 511.

When reflecting on the differences between the iSchool and other schools he’s taught at, he notes that the main difference is the organization and work environment. He “appreciate[s] how the teachers are actively working towards an engaging place for students to learn.” After all, Mr. Maillet’s teaching motto is “if [he] think[s] something is boring, then the students are going to think it’s boring.”With this in mind, he always tries to think about himself when he plans lessons. He asks himself questions like “would I want to do this activity? If I was going to sit with the students and do the activity, would I be excited to work through it?”

All of these great new teachers have had a great influence on our school community, and  we hope to see them at the iSchool for a long time. Not only have they created a space for new opportunity, but they’ve created a place for students to flourish socially. We are excited to watch what great things they — and the rest of the NYC iSchool staff — have in store. 

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