Feature stories

Three teachers, one opening day

How they welcomed the city's littlest, biggest and in-between as another school year begins

Meet the teachers

Roberta Valentine, kindergarten, PS 315, Manhattan

Three teachers, one opening day - Roberta Valentine - 1Dave Sanders

I got up at 4:30 so I could take my time and make sure everything I need was going inside my bag! Even though I’ve been teaching a long time, the first day is the first day. I had coffee and toast and off I went on the L train from Ridgewood, Queens. I got to school, in the Lower East Side, at 7:15, leaving time for loose ends and to make sure the names on the cubbies, which have a way of falling off, were all up, and the room was ready to go by 8 o’clock. Read more >>

Rashad Brown, 6th-grade science, MS 224, the Bronx

Three teachers, one opening day - Rashad Brown - 2Gary Schoichet

I took the bus from across the street where I live in Harlem up to the South Bronx and walked about eight blocks to school. I got a grilled cheese and bacon on a roll at the bodega across from the school, which is in the Morrisania section. I ate in my classroom while I wrote on my whiteboard — the agenda, the Do Now tasks and the aim, which is the question of the day: What are Mr. Brown’s expectations for 6th-grade science?

Erica Dellabonta, 12th-grade social studies, Cardoza HS, Queens

Three teachers, one opening day - Erica Dellabonta - 3Bruce Cotler

I got up at 5:45, earlier than usual because I had a program change. But I’m a morning person so it was just a matter of adjusting my sleep schedule. I drive from New Hyde Park in Nassau to Bayside, Queens, about a 15-minute commute. I had coffee and when I got to work I checked my program, checked my email to see if there were any questions from the seniors and double-checked to make sure there were no parent phone calls.

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