On Tuesday U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor told listeners of The Brian Lehrer Show about her Cardinal Spellman High School history teacher, Ms. Katz, who opened her eyes to a new way of thinking.
“She challenged us to think critically about history – not merely to recite facts but to analyze the forces that led to conditions throughout history,” said Sotomayor. “And that was the first time someone challenged me to think analytically, and so for me that was a progressive teacher.”
This led the show producers to ask listeners: “Who is your Ms. Katz?” Join the conversation below.
Allen Bank from Brooklyn said: “My Miss Katz > Mr. Scarpasi in Brooklyn > David A. Boody Jr. High > was my social studies teacher and 3 days a week the call consisted of reading the Times and discussion about the topics of the day and how they related to us and the world >THINKING! Before we “got it”! We all thought > in the venacular of today > Sweet! No work!!! We all learned how to think in that class.”
rct from NYC named Jeannette DiLorenzo. “JHS 142, 7th and 9th grade English and Social Studies; taught us about union movement (she was a founding member of the UFT), civil rights, social activism. Changed the way I think; told my mother, who hadn’t finished high school, that I was very bright and could go to college (CUNY) for free. Changed my life.”
“Germaine Olsen, my freshman and sophomore high school English teacher,” volunteered “thatgirl” from Manhattan. “She taught me to love Shakespeare, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thoreau in equal measures, and to read between the lines. Would that students these days have someone so singularly dedicated, whom I think of every time I reach for reading of quality.”
A caller named Adam said it was Ms. Steadman’s English class in 12th grade that changed his attitude about learning. “She just made reading really exciting,” he said. “Now I’m a English professor.”
Chuck from Manhattan named Eugene Santomasso, who he recalled as a “great art history professor first at Columbia University, the Brooklyn College. Opened many people’s eyes. Died young.”
Another caller, Paul from Bay Ridge, said Vincent O’Connor from St. Francis Prep “affected thousands and thousand of boys and girls” as a coach and college guidance counselor. “He changed my life.”