Pat Puleo may have retired from teaching, but the former Yonkers Federation of Teachers president hasn’t lost touch with her YFT in-service brothers and sisters. In October, she was on hand for the Yonkers Take a Look at Teaching Summit, held in conjunction with NYSUT and the YFT, headed by President Samantha Rosado- Ciriello. “It was a wonderful experience — there were so many different community groups attending,” said Puleo.
She participated in a small group discussion table that included New York State Regent Roger Tilles, who voiced strong support for the union’s involvement in teacher recruitment, particularly with regard to boosting diversity within the teaching ranks.
“Although Yonkers has greater teacher diversity than most districts, we have to continually work to maintain that,” said Puleo.
A suggestion brainstormed at her table that she believes has strong potential, is enlisting retired teachers to mentor high school seniors who are interested in the teaching field. “We could meet with them and explain what teaching is like and provide guidance,” said Puleo, noting that Yonkers used to have a high school geared toward students interested in the teaching profession. “We already have retiree mentors for new teachers; this could be an offshoot.”
Since many student attendees said they appreciated having the opportunity to learn more about the teaching profession, having a retiree mentor — someone who has the time to help out and years of teaching experience— is a natural fit.
Florence McCue, ED 51–53 atlarge director and Marty Sommer, RC 16, NYSUT PAC committee chair, also participated in the event.
NYSUT’s Take a Look at Teaching initiative is aimed at elevating the profession and encouraging students and career-changers from all backgrounds to consider teaching. The Yonkers summit was the sixth in a series of events held around the state.