Wang’s Back and Better Than Ever
Reading Time: 3 minutes
After just two years of teaching at Stuyvesant, Advanced Placement Microeconomics teacher David Wang can now boast nearly six years within the building. In 2008, Wang arrived at the school for his first classes as an incoming freshman, starting his journey through Stuyvesant, filled with twists, turns, and a few lucky coincidences along the way.
Throughout his time at Stuyvesant, the extent to which Wang’s experiences mirror those of a current student is uncanny. For starters, there’s a good chance that you’ve shared a teacher with Wang. “Shoutout to Ms. Garcia, Mr. Nieves, Ms. Goldberg, Ms. Bernstein, Ms. Shamazov, Ms. Manning, Mr. Jaishankar, Mr. Rubenstein, Ms. Weinwurm, Ms. Daves, Ms. Paik, Dr. O’Malley, Ms. Arora, and Ms. Moore,” he recalled.
Like many graduating seniors, Wang didn’t have his life mapped out when it came time for his graduation in 2012. “I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to study in college or what career path I wanted to pursue,” he said. Wang switched majors, paths, and even colleges several times before deciding to pursue a future in education and settling in at Queens College. He cites Stuyvesant as playing a role in this decision, saying, “Having many teachers who were so passionate [in] their field of study and [in] working with students helped seed the idea in my mind that this [path] may be what I wanted to do with my life.” Wang also realized that regardless of whether he enjoyed a subject himself, he enjoyed teaching it, a fact that he discovered about himself while working as a tutor/teaching assistant at a community college. After a “traumatic experience” with an upper-level math teacher, Wang’s future in social studies teaching was set.
However, after his formal education was complete, it was time for Wang to start paying it forward. “Ever since I first considered embarking on a career in education, I had envisioned one day returning to Stuy as a teacher,” Wang said. The teacher reached out to Kerry Trainor, a former teacher of his who was still at Stuyvesant in 2018, nearly six years after his graduation, and inquired about openings in the school. Trainor agreed to give Wang a student-teaching role for his AP World History classes, officially kick-starting the young teacher’s foray into the other side of Stuyvesant education. “My experience as a student teacher that term further affirmed my wish to return to Stuy as a teacher one day,” Wang recalled.
After a brief intermission spent teaching at a small high school in Queens for the 2019-2020 academic year, Assistant Principal of Social Studies Jennifer Suri tipped Wang off to a job opening back at Stuyvesant. “The opening came when [social studies teacher Kerry] Trainor, the teacher I had student-taught for, moved to California, so it’s an interesting coincidence that I ended up taking over for the teacher I student-taught for,” Wang recalled.
Over a year later, Wang is back for year two of teaching at Stuyvesant High School, and year six overall within the community. He has managed to switch subjects for the year, taking on AP Microeconomics for the duration of the 2020-2021 academic calendar. Like all of us, Wang has experienced much greater shifts than switching subjects in the past months. “Many times as I walk through the hallways, it feels like I’m the only person in the building. The constant emptiness of these halls has actually made me nostalgic for the good old days of being packed like sardines in the stairways between periods,” Wang remarked.
The abrupt switch to remote learning has come as something of a shock to Wang and has presented a unique set of challenges for the relatively new teacher. However, Wang is optimistic about the upcoming school year. “I hope that despite these difficult circumstances, I will be able to create a classroom environment that allows students to form meaningful connections with me and with each other,” he said.
Wang’s unique experience on both sides of the Stuyvesant population has given him special insight into how best to create those meaningful connections. “Being a Stuy student can be pretty stressful even without the new challenges involved with navigating remote learning,” Wang said. “So I want to do what I can to make my classes as stress-free and enjoyable as possible.”
Ultimately, only two years into his Stuyvesant teaching career, Wang is just getting started. He concluded with a nostalgic comparison that I, for one, have never heard of before: “The Stuy building is like Hogwarts. I’ve been in this building as a student and teacher for almost six years now, and I’m still discovering rooms and corners that I didn’t know existed.”