From student to teacher


Mr. Kurz in action.

by Erica Melz and Trevor LaVine, Staff Writer and Print Editor in Chief

Contrary to popular belief, GRHS teachers were once, in fact, students just like us. Some of them even went to this very school! Two such teachers are Mr. Kurz and Mr. Escolante, both students and later physical education instructors at our esteemed institute of learning.

Erica Melz: How are the students treated differently since you went to GR?

Jim Kurz: We didn’t have any of the online sources; our parents didn’t know what our grades were as they occurred; parents didn’t email back and forth with teachers, there were face-to-face conferences if necessary. Now it seems like a lot of the communication is done over the computer.

Michael Escolante: It’s tough to say. It really depends on the different teachers that are here. I guess some teachers are maybe a little stricter nowadays. It is a different time and you really have to stay on top of the students and know where they are and students might have a little less freedom than when I was here. But overall I would say the vast majority is kind of the same in terms of the freedoms that you have and the freedoms that you don’t have.

EM: How are you different as a teacher from teachers that you had here at GR?

JK: I’d like to think that I learned a lot from the teachers I had, and I hope that I bring similar things to the table that they brought because I had great teachers back when I went here.

ME: Well, definitely being young is different because it is interesting and difficult at times – being closer in age to the students. But at the same time, it is a lot of fun because I certainly have a level of energy that I might lose as I get older, but I think that the ways that I’m the same, being a PE teacher, I tend to be more on the enthusiastic side like Mr. Kurz or Mrs. Zimmermann and the other PE teachers. Different, I might be a little more tech savvy as the times are changing, using laptops and Youtube for certain things, using technology. And I think that’s the way that things are going to be from now on.

EM: Did you know you wanted to teach at GR when you went here?

JK: I had it in the back of my mind that I might be a teacher, but it wasn’t my first option right out of high school. But I soon found out, believe it or not, once I started coaching that I wanted to teach.

ME: When I was here I thought it would be great to teach here, and it is great right now, but at the time when I was here I didn’t know what I wanted to be. I knew I wanted to be a Phys Ed major, but, at the same time, I didn’t know if I wanted to be a full-time teacher or full-time coach like my brother was. I’d say it was definitely an option, but I didn’t have a definite answer.

EM: Are you still in contact with any former classmates?

JK: Oh yeah, a bunch of them. We were a tight group; some of my best friends to this day are Glen Rock kids. Some are a little older than me, some the same age, and some are even a little younger than me, but I consider them to be my best friends.

ME: Yeah, I still see a bunch of my former classmates at least like twice a week because we all live in Glen Rock for the most part. Especially this past Thanksgiving weekend, I saw a ton of them, and I’ll text them almost every day. Whether it’s just about something that happened in sports or just have something to talk about. I do stay in good touch with about five close friends, and I’ll see other people here and there.

EM: Did you have any teachers that are still here?

JK:  Yes, actually I worked side by side with Ms. Sileo; she was my gym teacher. Ms. Mahoney was and still is a tremendous English teacher; she is such a genuine teacher, cares so much about the students and makes the subject matter so interesting. Ms. Bick and Mr. Buzzerio were my science teachers. Mrs. Camp and Ms. Rizzo were my phys ed teachers, and Ms. Cella was my art teacher. Also, a couple teachers that just retired, like Mr. Beatini, Ms. Choma, they were great. Mr. Broadhead was actually a phys ed teacher when I was here. Mr. Dattolo was my Spanish teacher.

EM: How have the policies changed since you were here?

JK: The policies are stricter now, I think. Like I said, the rules were a little more laid back; we still were held accountable for our actions, but I think that it’s for the better that it’s stricter now.