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Middle Grades, English Language Arts The Eileen E. Zaglin School

Sergio graduated Brooklyn College in 2009. He began his teaching career in District 19, the same district his father, a Cuban immigrant, was a principal. Today, Sergio teaches 6th and 7th grade English Language Arts at The Eileen E. Zaglin School, where he serves as a Model Teacher. He is also a professor at his alma mater, Brooklyn College.

My Love of Reading Became a Love of Teaching

The first time I picked up a Goosebumps book, there was no looking back. My aunt used to work at the World Trade Center and she would literally purchase the new Goosebumps edition month after month for about five years. That was basically my dive into the love of reading, my passion for reading. It just became natural to transition into education and follow a career in English teaching. I actually fought it as my calling because my father was an educator. But I found that passion and I made the connection. I love children, I love to read, I loved my English teacher in high school: I remember connecting those three dots and it was just a no-brainer to follow the path into teaching.

My Classroom is a Laboratory of Learning for Other Teachers

As a Model Teacher, my classroom serves as a laboratory, allowing other staff members to come in and observe teaching strategies and teaching practices that I have found successful with a variety of learners in my classroom. It allows my colleagues to watch my practice so that I can support them and eventually help them implement those same strategies. This is a big building, we serve Kindergarten through 8th grade. I want to bridge the gap and make connections between the awesome things that are happening in the second-, fourth-, and the eighth-grade classrooms. I'm here to allow that sharing of best practices to take place because there's a lot of awesome things happening in this building that more of us need to know about.

The Best Teachers Push Learning to the Next Level

We need teachers who are passionate. We need teachers who are energetic. We need teachers who are motivated to push learning to the next level. I can't teach passion. I cannot give you a pamphlet on how to acquire passion. If you're here, it’s because you are passionate about education and helping students learn in the most diverse city in the world. I am a strong believer of the growth mindset. Serving as a model, as an exemplar, being positive, having students know that if you can't do this now, the key word is 'now'. Adopting a growth mindset is a key part of any strong teacher's arsenal. I learn from them every day. Learning is a lifelong process, so the day that I say I haven't learned anything in a while is the day I need to really take a step back and re-evaluate my approach.

Who's doing most of the talking in my room? The students are because I allow them to have that voice… I'm just facilitating what's going on. I'm the referee.