When I was in high school, my AP English teacher was a heavyset, serious-minded, animated, bearded bard. His class was different and refreshing. His love of the material oozed from every ounce of his being and bellowing voice. He lit up the classroom. I couldn’t wait to attend! That is what I try to do for my students here at Rambam where I have happily taught for close to ten years. With varied approaches including audio, visual, and tactile learning experiences, I work to create an environment where the students are excited about coming to class. My aim is to make the material go down like “a spoon full of sugar” because I strongly believe that learning can and should be enjoyable. Teaching is a privilege and a responsibility. Beyond academic learning, I believe that the classroom should be a place where a student can find themselves or part of themselves. To this end, I make the classroom a place where the most timid student has the courage to stand up and read his latest essay…and then revel in the students’ applause; a place where the “tough, stoic athlete” can read a gentle poem he wrote and receive a standing ovation! What is my motivation on the difficult days? When the weaker academic student passes the Global Regents but also draws upon his hidden creative talents to sketch a caricature of Galileo which I proudly frame and place in the classroom for all to see…accolades abounding. Motivation? When an A.P. English student creates a competitive short story writing competition club just for “summer fun” and reaches out to tell me about it! Motivation? When an Intro to Law student drops me a line to thank me for igniting in him a love for the law and then goes on to rave about how much he loved the summer legal internship he scored at a big name law firm! Aside from the students’ academic successes which are critical, at the risk of sounding cliché, my greatest triumph is when I can touch the life of a student in a positive or meaningful way. Put simply, for me, teaching success is not only quantified by grades. The silent successes are the richest. For example, a student and his parent each wrote separate letters to me expressing that I had helped the student through a most difficult time in life. They sent heartfelt appreciation for my being a teacher, a mentor, and a source of encouragement and inspiration. Letters like these make it all worthwhile. After wiping away a river of tears after reading one, I am renewed and ready to return to the classroom with creativity and enthusiasm, ready to lead more openhearted, open-minded students on a journey of academic success and self-discovery and perhaps, just perhaps, helping to encourage a lifelong love of learning!