This oral history interview is an intimate conversation between two people, both of whom have generously agreed to share this recording with Oral History Summer School, and with you. Please listen in the spirit with which this was shared.
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This interview took place on April 29, 2021 and was recorded remotely via Zoom. Anita Rivera is an English, ESL, and AVID educator at Fox Lane High School in Bedford, NY. In this interview, Anita began by speaking about the current physical space of her classroom, mentioning the social distancing and, especially, the heavy barriers that the students have to carry around. She spoke about the beginning of the year, when school was all remote and the decisions made by the administration on how school would function, the shortening of class periods, camera policies, etc. Particularly, she mentioned the loss of intimacy with students that the format of remote learning necessitates. Many students, she said, who were on the edge before, have totally disappeared. She shared a story of the difficulty of holding students accountable. She worried about next year, when deadlines would return and it will be more possible to fail. Teachers, she said, have had to struggle with being and feeling ineffectual. Many teachers are going to leave the profession, and dissuade young people from joining it in the first place. Speaking of the future, though, Anita said she is hopeful. She said she has six years left to retire and that she will really appreciate and cultivate the medium of classroom learning.
Daniel Horowitz was born and raised in New York City, making extended forays to Boston and New Orleans, only to return to teach and work in his hometown. He holds a degree in Media Arts from Northeastern University, a Master's in Creative Writing from the New School and is currently enrolled at the CUNY Graduate Center in the Biography and Memoir program. In New Orleans and coastal Mississippi he has been conducting a long-term oral history project on the lived experiences of climate change. For the last four years he has taught and learned alongside children at forest schools, first in Prospect Park and then at NOLA Nature School in the Couturie Forest in the City of Dreams, egrets, alligators and all. He currently teaches Science and Gardening in Red Hook, Brooklyn.
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This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please click here to inquire about permissions.