#HistoryInTheMaking: Justina Povitch

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Introducing Justina Povitch! This East Harlem Teaching Resident is in the classroom with our Scholars Academy II students. The Staten Island, New York, native is the oldest of four, and is the mom of purr babies Lulu and Lucy. She has fun with fashion—pink is her favorite color and she has Uggs in most every hue—but she is serious about teaching. Here’s a bit more about one of the newest additions to our Scholars Academies family:

Is teaching your first career? Why did you decide to become a teacher?

Teaching has always been my first career choice; I knew it since third grade. I guess you could say my teacher, Ms. Udin, did have an influence. She was always so patient and kind with us. The way she would act is how I wanted to be when I became a teacher. I remember I would line up my stuffed animals and pretend they were my students. I would always teach them everything that I had learned from Ms. Udin.

Why did you choose East Harlem Teaching Residency?

I chose East Harlem Teaching Residency because of their beliefs on anti-racist teaching. Needless to say, I never saw any of that implemented while I was in school. So, for me to learn about all of this now, and how to bring it into my future classroom, is great. Instilling the anti-racist ideologies into lesson plans can help our Black and Brown students. By applying these ideologies to our teaching, it shows our students that they can do anything they set their minds to.

Tell us about a moment in the classroom this week that inspired you.

I finally got to teach the math and ELA content, on top of social studies content. It just felt good to really take on the lead teaching role. Even though I've done it before, doing it a little bit more now I am finally getting comfortable with it. I am not feeling as nervous anymore. What also inspired me was that when it was time to teach social studies, one of my scholars kept telling me how excited she was because it was her favorite subject. This made me happy because it was my favorite subject in school, too. 

What does Black History Month mean to you?

Black History Month reminds me of the many dedicated Black men and women who have contributed their accomplishments. No matter what obstacles Black people went through, we still came out on top stronger than ever. When I have my own classroom, my students will know that even though there is a designated time to celebrate Black history, there is no need to wait around for just one month—the shortest month of the year at that! Black history is a part of American history, so it should be part of an everyday curriculum.

Wende Gozan Brown