the Superintendent’s Seat
Honor of Teachers
Dr. Carole G. Hankin with Randi T. Sachs
Superintendent of Syosset Schools for the past 11 years, I have
interviewed too many teachers to count. While I evaluate teacher
qualifications—their professional and life experiences—I also
make sure to ask myself one question: “Would I like to be a student
in this person’s class.” If I can’t answer with a definite “yes,”
I won’t be welcoming the candidate to our faculty.
There are a few characteristics that are shared by all great teachers:
they love children; they love learning; they are very knowledgeable,
but are open to new ideas and methods; they have patience for
slower learners; they care. If a teacher has these traits, he
or she can be old or young, gregarious or shy, funny or serious;
it doesn’t make much difference to the student.
I have a practice of meeting twice a year with my “Superintendent’s
Student Cabinet.” Students from each of the district’s ten schools
(seven elementary schools, two middle schools, and a high school)
sit down with me in the conference room and we talk about how
they feel about their schools. Over and over, and without any
prompting on my part, students tell me that what they like most
about school is their teachers. They say: “They care about me,”
“they help me,” and “I can talk to them about a problem.” Their
teachers have made them feel secure and loved. They have made
them enjoy coming to school and to love learning.
Each year in June, the Syosset Central School District honors
faculty and staff members who have given 25 years of service to
our schools. A teacher who has led an elementary school classroom
for 25 years has made a lasting impression on well over 600 children.
In secondary schools the number is probably five times that—3,000
children—and that’s only the number of children they have taught
in class. Teachers also relate to children who are not in their
classes on a daily basis. Whether it is as a club advisor or just
passing in the hall, teachers help children to learn, to mature,
to develop self-confidence and to discover their own talents.
As the school year comes to an end, let us thank all teachers
who give of themselves to their students. From the new college
graduates to the seasoned professionals, teachers play a very
influential role in a child’s life. Next to parents, there may
be no one else as influential.
Hankin is superintendent of Syosset Schools.
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