What Was Your Teacher Prior to Being a Teacher?

By: Lauren Pascocello

It can be bizarre to imagine your teacher being anything other than a teacher, but where were they working at your age?

Ironically, costuming teacher, Ms. Alison Galker, has been assisting children in art since the beginning, despite having no idea she wanted to be a teacher.

“I didn’t always know I wanted to be a teacher,” she said. “My dad wanted to make sure I’d get a job so he wanted me to go into nursing like my mother did. But ironically my first official job was an arts and crafts counselor at Manhattan Beach Jewish Center Day Camp.”

One day when she was helping a college student with an art project she came to a realization.

“I helped him draw a lamp and I realized, ‘wait a minute, I like helping people and I like art. I should be an art teacher!’ ” she said.

It’s hard to imagine the principal doing an ordinary job, but Mr. Allen Barge got his first job at 14 years old, during his freshman year in high school.

“I worked in a pharmacy called Miller Pharmacy on Avenue U,” he said. “I was the box boy.”

Mr. Joel Puelle said he got his working papers and started working as soon as possible.

“I was a page in a library,” he said. “I took books that had been turned in and restocked them on the shelves. It was as soon as I was able to get my working papers ‘cause I wanted a job right away, so I was about 16 in high school.”

Some other teachers didn’t get their first job until after high school. Physical Education teacher Mr. Lawrence Blatt said he worked at place that we’re familiar with today known as Chelsea Piers. His tasks varied between working the snack bar, driving the Zamboni and renting out the skates.

“My first real job?” said Mr. Blatt. “It was working at Sky Rink after my senior year. That was before it became Chelsea Piers.”

For some teachers, their first job wasn’t as much of a successful experience as others.

“I worked at a delicatessen on Avenue J for three days,” said Mr. Scott Menscher. “There was an incident involving a knish. It fell into the cranberry sauce and I was freaking out trying to get it out and back on the tray. I didn’t say anything to anybody, I just quit.”

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