Brooklyn-based photographer Aliza Eliazarov has put together a series on the lives of teachers in New York City, which features many teachers from schools in Borough Park and Dyker Heights.
While there are many aspects to focus on in a teacher’s life, Eliazarov looked at the moment she calls “the calm after the storm,” when students have left school for the day and the teacher is given a minute of reprieve. It’s a rare glimpse into that moment few other professions may experience, the moment when a person goes from stewards of youth and molders of the future to being… regular people again.
Eliazarov was inspired by her own experience as an elementary school teacher, a job she left to pursue photography full time. She writes of the series:
After school is a poignant time in a teacher’s day. It’s one of both reflection and preparation – exhaustion and relief, concern and contentment. This portrait series is a glimpse in to the world of the challenging life of today’s educator.
Among the teachers Eliazarov finds for the set, titled “NYC Teachers After School,” are three Poly Prep Country Day School (9216 7th Avenue) teachers.
Francesca Leobowitz, featured above, left a career in advertising for a profession where she says she’s inspired by the students. ” I have to say I have the best job. I love, love, love what I do,” she told Eliazarov.
Josina Reaves, a high school level teacher at Poly Prep, is the subject of one of the most compelling photos in the series. She sits at a student’s desk, “exhausted,” while pens and other detritus on the floor tell the story of the just-left students. The teacher was asked about the highlight of her day and she responded, “I read some fantastic student poems – some were really thoughtful, well done and revealing.”
Another cool-yet-totally-unrelated thing about Reaves? She made an appearance on the show “Who Wants To Be A Millionare?” last year. Reaves may know all about writing compare-and-contrast essays, but when it comes to Nostradamus’ predictions she fell short and lost her chance to win a million dollars. (Then again, her answer was totally sensible. But few should expect sense from Nostradamus).
There was also an elementary school teacher from P.S. 164 in Borough Park named Peter Mancini who talked about conducting his student band to play a Star Wars song. Sure beats the Titanic theme I suffered through in school band.