Open Phones: A New Way of Thinking

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

microphone (Jody Avirgan/WNYC)

Who is a person in your life who opened your eyes to a new way of thinking? Who inspired you to see the world differently, either as a child or as an adult? The phone lines are open for you at 212-433-WNYC, 212-433-9692 -- or you can leave a comment below.

*This segment originally aired on January 23, 2013. An edited version was re-aired on May 27, 2013 as part of a special Memorial Day show.

On yesterday's program, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor told listeners about her high school history teacher, Ms. Katz, who opened her eyes to a new way of thinking.

Justice Sotomayor on Ms. Katz

"She challenged us to think critically about history – not merely to recite facts but to analyze the forces that led to conditions throughout history," said Sotomayor. "And that was the first time someone challenged me to think analytically, and so for me that was a progressive teacher.”

We want to know, who was your Ms. Katz? 

Comments [13]

Oscar Maldonado from ny

♥ Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Mrs Garrick from my elementary school PS11 at Chelsea NY.
Around the mid 80s in Chelsea i met my teacher Mrs Garrick...i can relate you a book about Mrs Garrick but in consequence all I can say is that i will always love her...

Jan. 24 2013 01:43 AM

Eric Rothschild and Werner Feig--two extraordinary history teachers at Scarsdale High School. They were passionate about the subject and their students. They pushed us to use primary sources and form our own opinions about "what really happened." SHS alumnus, Aaron Sorkin even had "West Wing" character Josh Lyman talk about his teacher, Mr. Feig, who inspired him to go into public service.

Jan. 23 2013 06:21 PM
Bob from Westchester, NY

Not for nothin', but couldn't one of your producers or interns could call the Cardinal Spellman H.S. office in the Bronx and ask if they have contact info for Ms. Katz? Having spent 12 years in NYC Catholic schools from 1958 through 1970, plus 6 more years as a trustee of my high school, I am fairly confident that they keep the famous "permanent records" on teachers as well as students.

Jan. 23 2013 12:04 PM
Allen Bank from Brooklyn

My Miss Katz > Mr. Scarpasi in Brooklyn > David A. Boody Jr. High > was my social studies teacher and 3 days a week the call consisted of reaqding the Times and discussion about the topics of the day and how they related to us and the world >THINKING! Before we "got it"! We all thought > in the venacular of today > Sweet! No work!!!

We all learn how to think in that class.

I still to this day begin the day reading the Times while listening to WNYC.

Jan. 23 2013 11:57 AM
John A

Found out my Physics teacher was essentially Jim Phelps in the 1960's. The secret was always kept until his students reached senior year. Copious evidence too, not just tall tales.

Jan. 23 2013 11:57 AM
rct from NYC

Jeannette DiLorenzo. JHS 142, 7th and 9th grade English and Social Studies; taught us about union movement (she was a founding member of the UFT), civil rights, social activism. Changed the way I think; told my mother, who hadn't finished high school, that I was very bright and could go to college (CUNY) for free. Changed muy life.

Jan. 23 2013 11:54 AM
thatgirl from manhattan

Germaine Olsen, my freshman and sophomore high school English teacher. She taught me to love Shakespeare, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thoreau in equal measures, and to read between the lines. Would that students these days have someone so singularly dedicated, whom I think of every time I reach for reading of quality.

Orville Steinke, my grade school vocal music teacher, who taught us ALL the lyrics to American roots music, classics like "This Land is Your Land," "Roll on Columbia," and "Marching to Pretoria." Today, he'd be thought of as political, but I'm so glad he was!

And Alberta Ludwig, who understood that I learned every song for orchestra in grade school by ear, and didn't care if I was up-bowing against the other first chairs!

Jan. 23 2013 11:54 AM
khadija from brooklyn

Many of my professors; Pr. Nolin (Histoire) at Lycee Lalla Aicha however, still fills me with wonder; I recall a class debate we had in class about equality in all societies, capitalism vs communism vs socialism; he was equanimous until he challenged me: do you mean that a billion citizens of China should be allowed to each own a car? "Indeed!" I replied vehemently. Instead of putting me down, he replied, what about the air? Ecology? That was the first time I had heard the term. How prescient of him. (this was in the late '60s. Ever since, I've attempted to mind.

Jan. 23 2013 11:54 AM
The Truth from Becky

My music teacher Mr. Marantz and my track coach Mrs. Corso thank you both!

Jan. 23 2013 11:54 AM
Andrea Shane from NYC

Thea Smith. Farnsworth Middle School in Guilderland, NY in 1974. I had her for 7th grade English. I believe we were her very first class she was teaching after college. She used the wonderful book "Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle" (a poetry collection) as a textbook. On the day she taught the title poem "Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle Given by a Friend Named Felicity" Ms. Smith (she was a "Ms." even though she was married, another reason I thought she was cool) brought in watermelon pickle that her mother had made to share with the whole class. It rocked my world and changed my life. I would so love to find her!

Jan. 23 2013 11:53 AM
Chuck from manhattan

Eugene Santomasso, great art history professor first at Columbia University, the Brooklyn College. Opened many people's eyes. Died young.

Jan. 23 2013 11:53 AM
Robert from NYC

David Greitzer, Music Teacher, Director of the Mixed Chorus, Morris High School, Dah Bronx (1959-1963). Handed me the key to the great pipe organ in the school auditorium when I only state an interest in playing the organ one day. He reached into his pant pocket, handed me the keys and said, go play the organ. I went on to study music and become an organist.

Jan. 23 2013 11:50 AM
Bobby G from East Village

Michael Rossman. Google him.

Jan. 23 2013 11:46 AM

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