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‘This Is Not a Test’ book launch

Tales of a math teacher
New York Teacher
Tafari Stevenson-Howard

Mulgrew (left) reads an excerpt from Vilson’s book, while the author listens.

Tafari Stevenson-Howard

Vilson signs a copy of his book for Chapter Leader Bob McCue of the Center for Math and Science HS in Manhattan.

“Teaching grabs the soul.” UFT President Michael Mulgrew paused after saying those words aloud while reading an excerpt from the essay “Why Teach” during the launch for math teacher Jose Vilson’s book “This Is Not a Test” at UFT headquarters on May 6. Mulgrew looked up and said to the audience: “I love that.” Three other readers also helped capture the essence of the book, which is part memoir, part ode to teaching and part challenge to teachers to speak up for themselves and for their students. A subtitle describes the book as “A New Narrative on Race, Class and Education.” In his first essay, “Please Put Your Pencils Down,” Vilson, a math coach at IS 52 in Inwood, records the stream-of-consciousness thoughts he has as he watches students during the administration of a math test. He concludes, “We didn’t land on education reform. It landed on us.” The other readers were author Raquel Cepeda, former teacher and education advocate Sabrina Stevens and Chris Lehman, a former teacher at the Beacon School in Manhattan and now the principal of Science Leadership Academy in Pittsburgh, Pa. UFT Vice President for Academic High Schools Janella Hinds, who chaired the event, noted, “It’s fitting that we celebrate you, Jose, on Teacher Appreciation Day.” Vilson was celebrated at the White House the next day as part of Teacher Appreciation Day celebrations there.

Related Topics: Pedagogy