Ms. Ann Miller

Ms. Ann Miller

Stephen Gaynor School
Manhattan, New York

I have been in the field of special education for 38 years, on and off, achieving a Masters degree in 1971 from the Ferkauf Graduate School of Yeshiva University, (N.Y.C.) and then taking several courses at Columbia University. I am the assistant Director of Education at the Stephen Gaynor School of Manhattan, where I have worked for the past 19 years. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to watch a struggling 5-year-old slowly metamorphosize into a confident and secure teenager, ready to face his/her future with all the challenges that entails. In between two careers in education, I spent several years as a photographer. I often think of a child as that special photograph whose image unfolded before me, bit by bit, in the darkroom. The children are those beautiful final prints.

Who was your favorite teacher? Why?

My favorite teacher was a high school English teacher who so loved reading and literature himself, that his passion was irresistible. Without any coercion, just through sheer joy, he opened up the world for his students.

What are three things every teacher should own?

Three things every teacher should own are: 1. a sense of humor 2. a commitment to quality 3.a deep understanding of each child and his/her unique learning profile.

If you could have any person (living, dead or fictional) as a principal, who would it be?

If I could have any person as a principal, it would be Abraham Lincoln.

What profession other than your own would you most like to attempt?

As for other professions: I was a professional photographer for several years and continue to photograph.

Describe your all-time favorite lesson/unit activity.

My favorite lesson was one on recycling where I took my entire class to the now closed "Staten Island landfill" where all New York City garbage was transported. After studying the unit for several weeks, the reality of seeing miles and miles of garbage was something my students could not have previously imagined. I knew they would be careful about recycling from then on.

What is the greatest misconception about teachers?

The greatest misconception about teachers is that they work from 8-3.

What stereotype about teachers is true?

I cannot think of a stereotype about teachers that is true...

How did you know you wanted to be a teacher?

I knew I wanted to be a special education teacher because, from childhood, I realized life wasn't fair and somehow, in whatever way I could, I wanted to level that playing feel for children that started off with a disadvantage.

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