New York City Schools Chancellor David C. Banks was joined by city education leaders to welcome hundreds of new public school teachers for New Teacher Week at Kings Theater in Brooklyn.
The event – which is to be held over the span of three days – started off strong on Aug 29 with rousing speeches and presentations by the Chancellor as well as by Deputy Chancellor Carolyne Quintana, United Federation of Teachers (UFT) President Michael Mulgrew and Dr. Bernard Harris.
New Teacher Week celebrates and helps prepare newly hired Department of Education (DOE) public school teachers working throughout the city as they gear up for the 2022-2023 school year beginning on Sept 1.
Teachers will be participating in a variety of learning sessions and activities and will also be provided with resources and support as many begin their careers in education.
“Our goals this year are to strengthen core instruction,” said Deputy Chancellor Quintana during her presentation. “The magic really happens in a space where all students are learning what you are providing. So we want to make sure that kids have access and that you [as teachers] address barriers so they can actually engage in that learning. We are going to raise literacy and math and there are a ton of new programs and initiatives that are designed to help you do that well. The most important goal is to develop high quality educators, that’s you. This [goal] is centered on your professional journey and the support that we’ll provide you with throughout the years is critical because this work is not possible without you.”
This year’s New Teacher Week was the first since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and was particularly poignant as the country is facing a nationwide teacher shortage. This week’s event will hopefully provide new and existing teachers with the opportunities and support needed to help students and school communities succeed in the coming months.
UFT President Mulgrew emphasized how crucial teachers and educators are and that supporting them will ensure that students are provided with the highest level of instruction possible.
“We were all at one point crazy enough to make the decision to walk into a school and say ‘I want to make a difference in a child’s life’,” said Mulgrew. “Once you do that then you can teach them the things that you want to teach them, you can teach them the things that you know will change their lives. And then all of a sudden you realize, ‘Wow. I am making a difference’. You are in the largest school system in the United States of America. So, reach out for help. Find out right away who your chapter leader in your school is. The union here does a lot of different things; if school funding is important to you, if knocking down stupid laws is important to you – that’s what we do.”
Chancellor Banks also took time to speak about how teachers and educators are some of the most important and formative members of our communities; helping to shape and inspire younger generations.
“In South Korea, teachers are referred to as ‘nation builders’,” said Banks during the Monday assembly. “That’s what we need to be doing here in America. To lift up this profession of teaching so that the whole country has the greatest respect for every single one of you [educators]. This city, this country needs you in ways that we can’t even fully express. The world is changing so fast and we as teachers have to keep up. We are coming out of this pandemic and people are saying all across the country that the kids came back different. Schools have to be done differently; we can’t do it the same way. We are creatures of habit, but we need you to be innovative, creative, and think outside the box.”