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High School History Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies, Brooklyn

In his 20 years as a teacher, Scott has taught every grade from first to twelfth. He is currently a Master Teacher of Big History, an alternative course to classic global studies that combines history and science to chronicle life on earth. He also helps fellow teachers improve their practice as an instructional guide. He has been profiled by The New York Times and is a recipient of the New York City Outward Bound R. Gaynor McCown Excellence in Teaching Award.

My Class Celebrates Different Points of View

I teach students across many different belief systems and encourage them to share in a respectful way that creates risk-taking. In Big History, we ask how humans fit into the universe and look at both scientific discussions and religious beliefs, which creates a dynamic discussion. Students understand that I don’t want them to just give me the right answer, I want them to state and defend their claims based on their knowledge. The openness of the debates becomes a source of joy and that’s why I teach.

A Great Teacher Learns Constantly

Teaching is a craft you can hone, even if you can never perfect it. When I taught high school science, I wanted to make the curriculum more interdisciplinary, so I created a course where my students learned Newtonian physics through designing toys and play spaces. They split up into companies to design products for a “client,” and the school’s second-graders gave them feedback. I also invited a top architecture firm to come discuss the students’ designs. Through the course, students learned what it’s like to be a professional and do multidisciplinary work.

I Invest in Students and Their Families

I go above and beyond for my students every day. Most teachers do. I spend a lot of my time with a set of students I’m advising, visiting their first-period classes every morning and hopping on the phone during weekends. I check with their families to see how they are doing in their classes. My students know that I’m there for them and they come to respect that.

I like creating a classroom where you stop being a teacher and instead become a lead learner. You’re there with the students figuring out how it all fits together.