Dan Herman ’06, Shares His Passion for Teaching
Dan Herman ’06, an English teacher at Bayside High School in Queens, recently spoke to more than 40 students, 1 faculty master, and 5 staff members via video conference on September 29, 2014 in the Fleishman Center to kick of the 2014-2015 Cool Connections, Hot Alumni Series.
The Cool/Hot virtual speaker series is collaboration between the Binghamton University Alumni Association and the Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development. The virtual programs are designed to connect students with alumni in a variety of careers. Thanks to this new technology, the programs are a great opportunity to ask questions regarding the transition from Binghamton to the world of work, and how to get involved to prepare for future careers.
Before becoming a teacher, Herman originally wanted to go into law, and studied political science and English at Binghamton. Herman became heavily involved in student government, including being President of Mohawk, President of CIW, and eventually a Resident Assistant.
Herman’s outlook shifted away from law when he became a tutor and an Undergraduate Course Assistant for Watson’s Engineering Communications course.
"I found that there was a gap between what students were taught in high school and what they are expected to do in college," he says.
Through these experiences, Herman discovered his passion for teaching others.
“I wanted to teach high school students,” he says,” so that I could teach them the skills they needed for college.”
After graduating from Binghamton, Herman attended Columbia Teacher’s College and obtained his master’s in English education. While he enjoyed his time in graduate school, he advised students that what’s learned in the classroom isn’t necessarily what you experience in real life.
“When teaching, you have to address not just educational issues,” he says. “You have to support them emotionally as well as academically.”
Herman finds that the best part of teaching is interacting with his students. On one day, he said, he might teach the same lesson plan four times. However, he has the freedom to teach it differently to each class, depending on the students and their interests.
What he finds most frustrating as a teacher, he says, is having a student who is completely unengaged in class.
“These are real people you’re dealing with, and there’s bound to be someone who’s dealing with a problem,” Herman said. “I like to make sure students are comfortable, with whatever they do.”
For students who wish to go into teaching as a profession, Herman recommends focusing on studying the content in their courses. By understanding the content of his courses, he says, he was able to focus more on the teaching aspect of the subject in grad school.
Herman ended the program with saying that every activity in his Binghamton career shaped him into the person he is today.
“From what it has given me, I feel that Binghamton has led me to so much success in my life,” Herman says. “I found the path I was supposed to pursue.”