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950 new fellows ‘answer the call’

New fellows raise their hand in response to questions about where they came from Pat Arnow New fellows raise their hand in response to questions about where they came from, their professional backgrounds and their college degrees.
Future math teachers in the Fellows program. Pat Arnow Future math teachers in the Fellows program are (from left) Amanda Hunte, Chinedu Mbadiwe-Rejmer, Anderson Emerole and Ehimanre Ebhomielen.

The new fellows' assignments

  • 100 math
  • 100 science
  • 75 English
  • 75 ESL
  • 450 special education
  • 100 District 75
  • 50 bilingual special education

Beneath the elaborate chandeliers of the Grand Prospect Hall in Brooklyn, 950 new members of the New York City Teaching Fellows were welcomed into the teaching profession on June 16.

“Each and every one of you answered the call to join the ranks of teachers,” said Sterling Roberson, the UFT’s vice president for career and technical education high schools, as he greeted the members of the 25th cohort of fellows. “We are at a crucial time in the history of education, and the solution to our challenges rests in our schools.”

Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña advised the new teachers to maintain their social lives and seek support from their colleagues.

“Teaching can be a lonely job, and it doesn’t get easier until your third year,” she said. “But if you can leave the school building every day knowing that one child will have a better evening because you were there, you’ve done the most important job in the world.”

More than half of this year’s new teaching fellows will become special education teachers. Among them is Monique Lamb, a paraprofessional at PS 180 in Brooklyn, who said that she applied to the Teaching Fellows program because it was the most rapid pathway to a teaching career.

“I wanted to teach immediately,” she said.

Valerie Littleton-Cohen, another new special education teacher, worked as an after-school program director with the Police Athletic League for 16 years. When she was laid off, she returned to college to complete her undergraduate degree and then entered graduate school at Queens College. There, she attended a talk given by Chancellor Fariña, whose name she recognized from her days as a PTA president at her children’s school.

“When she was appointed chancellor, I decided to become a teacher,” Littleton-Cohen said.

Nearly 8,800 of New York City’s current public school teachers entered through the Fellows program, according to the DOE.

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