Teacher Feature




Degrees and Certifications:

Hiram Allen

Job Title:
Special Education Teacher
Denzel Washington School of the Arts

Number of Years in the District:
20 years

Name of College(s) and Degrees Held:
New York University; MA Educational Administration
New York University; MA Educational Psychology
Herbert H. Lehman College of the City University of New York; MS Special Education

Year(s) of Graduation:
2003, 2001, 1999


What inspired you to pursue a career in education and why?
My grade 1 teacher had a profound impact on my early decision to become a teacher. Her passion for teaching was profound. She was dedicated to teaching, set the tone of our class, held high expectations, mentored and nurtured us, had an optimistic attitude, filled our class with positivity, built a warm environment, displayed a personal touch, was engaging, kept us thinking, and always listening and looking for signs of trouble. Other important and powerful sources of inspiration were teaching being a relatively accessible profession, the civil rights movement, and the appeal of teaching as a career choice among African Americans in the 1980s.

What has been the biggest lesson you have learned in your years of teaching?
The biggest lesson I have learned in my years of teaching is to always and carefully listen to students. I find that listening to students maintains productive relationships and builds a better understanding of students and their needs.

What lesson(s) or values do you strive to teach your students?
The lessons or values that I strive to teach my students are always listen to others because it promotes empathy; always be ready to help others because it connects them to others; and always have a positive attitude because it makes it easier to avoid worries and negative thinking.

How did your experience as a student influence your teaching style?
My experience as a student influences my teaching style in the following ways: always view students in a positive way, meet students where they are and use their interests as a guide to how to teach them.

What aspect of your job inspires you the most and why?
The aspect of my job that inspires me the most is building trusting relationships with students to create a positive and productive learning space.