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RTC Section Spotlight

Suffolk Zoom courses cast wider net

New York Teacher

Ira Faber, the coordinator of the Suffolk RTC section on Long Island, has seen an uptick in attendance at Si Beagle courses since they became virtual.

“In pre-COVID days, I ran a lot of trips, not just in Suffolk County but walking tours in Manhattan and Brooklyn,” said Faber, who retired in 2014 after 32 years of teaching. “Anyone could sign up for a trip to Suffolk, but I got mostly Suffolk and Nassau people.”

The Suffolk section has 2,026 members, the majority of whom are 70 and older.

“I used a NYSUT office in Hauppauge for meetings,” Faber said, “but I couldn’t always get the space.”

Then came the pandemic — and Zoom.

Now the virtual Si Beagle courses offered by the section draw members from all over the country. In addition to participants from the five boroughs, Westchester and New Jersey, members from Florida, California and Washington State have also signed up.

“One of my presenters moved to Indiana,” Faber said. “Now the most important thing for me to put on the Si Beagle schedule is Eastern Standard Time.”

Spring courses include yoga, meditation, the Great American Songbook, doo-wop music, the return of Broadway, beginning canasta and a two-day seminar on wines. A course on internet security and digital privacy will be limited to 15 people so the presenter can answer as many questions as possible.

Another course will give members a chance to meet Florence Kraut, the author of the novel “How to Make a Life.”

“It’s a ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ type book about a family fleeing Eastern Europe to escape persecution,” Faber said. “But it also touches on mental illness and how it affects the individual and the family.”

Faber is grateful for the wide reach of the virtual Si Beagle courses. “It’s really wonderful,” he said. “I’m a people person. I miss the hugs and kisses. But I have so many more friends now.”

A chart of data showing the usage of the Zoom platform
UFT Welfare Fund

Now the virtual Si Beagle courses offered by the section draw members from all over the country. In addition to participants from the five boroughs, Westchester and New Jersey, members from Florida, California and Washington State have also signed up.

“One of my presenters moved to Indiana,” Faber said. “Now the most important thing for me to put on the Si Beagle schedule is Eastern Standard Time.”

Spring courses include yoga, meditation, the Great American Songbook, doo-wop music, the return of Broadway, beginning canasta and a two-day seminar on wines. A course on internet security and digital privacy will be limited to 15 people so the presenter can answer as many questions as possible.

Another course will give members a chance to meet Florence Kraut, the author of the novel “How to Make a Life.”

“It’s a ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ type book about a family fleeing Eastern Europe to escape persecution,” Faber said. “But it also touches on mental illness and how it affects the individual and the family.”

Faber is grateful for the wide reach of the virtual Si Beagle courses. “It’s really wonderful,” he said. “I’m a people person. I miss the hugs and kisses. But I have so many more friends now.”

Related Topics: Retired Teachers