Teachers = Students
I love the Bronx. Despite its rep as this drug infested, crime riddled and even (get this) post- apocalyptic wasteland that outsiders have deemed as our reality, the Bronx is beautiful. It’s absolutely a diamond in the rough, full of so much culture at every turn.
I went to high school in possibly the worst part of the Bronx, the South Bronx, Soundview, to be specific. However, I went to the only film focused high school in the country. The dynamic was very different and the teachers present were incredibly well aware of such.
Throughout my full high school experience at The Cinema School, I was always treated with a level of respect I hadn’t really experienced from any sort of institutional authority figure. Whenever I had any sort of concern regarding class or whatever the school may be doing, it didn’t matter if it was a substitute teacher or the principal herself. We were always listened to and our concerns mattered to the school.
I firmly believe that respect for the students and their intelligence is what really made my teachers great. We weren’t “low income students.” We weren’t treated as some sort of little project. We were treated as respectable and intelligent young adults, from the second I got my student ID during freshman year, all the way up until I was walking across the stage to grab the beautiful piece of paper I had yearned for.
It was this level of respect that made me confident in myself. I was a 14-year-old with not much life experience and I was still treated like I walked into that school with a Ph.D. My age was legitimately just a number. When I stepped into class, my teachers made it feel that I not only was wanted there but my presence in any sort of intellectual discourse was essential for ALL of us to learn.