An Inauspicious Start to Student-Teaching

By Douglas Graney posted 07-06-2017 01:24:15 PM

After changing majors at Buffalo State to Social Studies Education, I enrolled in history/social studies courses that were very helpful to my future
teaching, and education courses that were less so. Student teaching began at
the start of my last semester. I was scheduled to begin at West Hertel Academy,
a middle school in Buffalo. But “The Blizzard of ’85” postponed my start for
a week. To keep people off the streets, Buffalo Mayor Jimmy Griffin advised
residents to, “Go home, buy a six pack of beer, and watch a good football
game.” My buddies and I took that sincere advice to heart...especially the beer
part. A week later it was time to start. It was a two-mile walk from my apartment
on Ashland Ave near the Buffalo State campus to West Hertel Academy. It was
a rough walk. I fell a couple of times; lots of ice and snow. Plus I was fighting a
cold. I arrived about fifteen minutes late. Thirty-plus years later, and I’ve never
been late since. I walked into Bob Booth’s classroom and he must have thought,
What have I got myself into? I was soaked, disheveled, my hair looked like
three days of sweaty bed-head, my nose was running; I was a mess. Welcome to
This is an excerpt from my soon-to-be published book American Teacher-Adventures in the Classroom and Our Nation's Capital. My book is available for pre-order now: