Name: David Goldberg
Came to Blair: 2003
Classes Taught: Honors English 9, On-Level English 9
Education: Double Degree in Secondary Education and English from University of Maryland College Park
Previous Jobs: Elementary School Teacher, Daycare Teacher, Volunteer DJ at University of Maryland
Hobbies: listening to music, dining out, reading, going to the movies
A teacher who used to be a DJ? Who loves punk music? Who wants school to start later? This doesn't seem feasible, until you meet David Goldberg.
Goldberg is no ordinary teacher. One of the most unique parts of Goldberg's teaching is his understanding that relating to a student on a personal level is what makes his class exceptional. "Getting to know them one-on-one really makes the difference," Goldberg says.
Goldberg creates lasting personal relationships with his students with his laid back attitude. He gives his students high-fives in the hallway and talks to them in an informal manner. By becoming friends with his students, Goldberg gets to know and understand them better. He particularly enjoys learning "personal insights" of his many students and then "helping them develop their identities," he says.
When it comes to his job, Goldberg is a teacher with only genuine intentions. Goldberg does what he does for the priceless benefits, like the satisfaction of helping his students to succeed. His major frustration is his inability to devote as much time to his students as he would like. He regrets "not having enough hours in the day to spend with all the students that you want to."
Growing up and attending Rockville High School, Goldberg didn't know what he wanted to do after he graduated. He knew that he wanted to work with children, but wasn't sure where that would take him. After working with young children for 10 years with a few odd jobs in between, such as volunteering as a DJ at the University of Maryland, Goldberg eventually found himself on the faculty at Blair. After many years of high school teaching, Goldberg is happy with his career choice. "In twenty years I see myself right here. I'll just see what happens!" he says.
Although Goldberg thoroughly enjoys teaching, he does bask in the added perks, like having a summer vacation. "It's beautiful. No work. I read and watch other people go to work. It's great!" he says.
After the break, Goldberg is always ready to return to the classroom, but as much as he loves the high school environment, Goldberg has never attended a single high school reunion of his own. "Not one. I don't feel like I need to. I kept in touch with one or two people from high school and that's all I need," he says. Clearly he is a teacher who lives in the present and, in many ways, prefers interacting with teenagers than adults.
Goldberg pauses while considering some of his more unusual interactions with students. One especially uncomfortable moment stuck out from his many years of teaching, nevertheless it was done on purpose. "I sang. Whitney Houston, falsetto and all. But I had a reason," Goldberg smiles remembering the incident. Although he doesn't share the reason for his classroom recital, it is clear he's a teacher who goes to great lengths to attempt to get his students' attention, and he does it successfully—even when it means a bit of personal humiliation from time to time.
Apart from the fun and the silliness, Goldberg occasionally confronts what he considers to be the sole downside to teaching: "Grading," he responds without hesitation. "That's every teacher's least favorite part about teaching." On average, Goldberg works two hours every evening on grading and school work in addition to four more hours on weekends.
Amidst all the teaching, relationship building, and homework, Goldberg manages to find free time for activities he loves, like reading. He is currently reading End of the Jews by Adam Mansbach, an exceptional book according to the English teacher. Another one he has been working on for two years is called "Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke." However, neither of these books can compare to Goldberg's all-time favorite, Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison.
In his free time, Goldberg listens to music on his iPod. Just like many teens today, to Goldberg music is always close at hand. This is yet another example of the connection with his students. On his iPod, he has many different genres such as punk, indie rock and soul; after long deliberation, Goldberg makes the tough decision of landing on the band Dillinger Four as his current favorite group. A love of music is not at all surprising for a former volunteer DJ who spun a lot of vinyls back in the day.
After the struggle of trying to name his favorite band, Goldberg ponders a more delicate subject, his most embarrassing moment. "Ever in my entire life?" he asks. After lots of "Lets see. Hmm. Most embarrassing moment. Hmm. Oh. Peww," Goldberg finally stumbles on maybe not his most, but to him, a very embarrassing moment. "When I was seven or eight, I wasn't allowed to get ice cream. So I threatened to hurt myself with a butter knife. I guess that was kind of embarrassing."
Goldberg's willingness to share such personal and even ridiculous moments shows his unique openness and ability to relate to high school students—teenagers who place a high priority on music and friends, struggle to avoid embarrassment, and enjoy simply being understood. These relationships he creates and his true love for teaching are just some of the many things that Goldberg brings to Blair's classrooms. And don't be surprised if one of these days he shows up with his old vinyl punk albums and a DJ turntable, anything that might help him to better connect with his students.
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