Congratulations to Mr. Poska for being the Staffer of the Month. Mr. Poska is the AP of English, and this year he is teaching Advanced Placement English Language and Composition. He is also a skilled musician and playwright. In addition, he is currently the supervisor of the upcoming FDR production of Avenue Q. Mr. Poska is one of those big characters in the school. Many of you may know him from either being in the heading of the English Department’s handouts or from speaking to him directly. Speaking to him, you can clearly see why he is the head of the English Department and capable of teaching either (or both) AP English classes. He is a joy to talk to. Whether it is his knowledge, his wit, or just humor, there is something to enjoy every time. However, follow what his sign says on his office door, don’t poke the bear when he is busy! Like all people, wait for him to not be busy.
Mr. Poska’s favorite subject, is of course, English. His favorite genre is fiction, specifically from the Elizabethan period. It is when more modern forms of storytelling begin to evolve, such as Shakespeare. It is also the period for strong female characters with active personalities, such as Lady MacBeth, from MacBeth, and Desdemona, from Othello. His favorite book however, is Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, as said by Poska, “the Spanish Shakespeare.” He likes the book, as it is about a knight, while still old, engages in youthful activities. He, however, does not teach it since it is a massive tale, though he has taught parts of it in the past.
To those wanting to improve their English skills, in both reading and writing, he says to keep on reading and writing. Specifically, read and write about any topic that interests you, and keep on doing it. For writing, keep a record of your writing, and as you improve, look back at your progress. It’ll help give you a sense of achievement and show you what you still need to work on.
Mr. Poska’s least favorite subject is Math, because according to him, Math neither fits his taste nor is how his brain works. His is a brain of humanities. This leads to him to feel that students should not be forced to excel in every subject, because many like him, have talents and tastes which don’t translate over well to other areas. He feels students should take challenging AP classes, but ones that are in their area of interest. He feels that the school could improve by providing a greater variety of AP classes. Mr. Poska believes students don’t have to be good at everything. Just find something that interests you, that has a practical application in the real world.
However, he still feels everyone should go to college, at least a two year one. It is a fair expectation. Not only is it a requirement for many fields, but it will allow students to see if they can truly find their passion. Once you get to college, and you can take courses of greater rigor. They will allow you to better know if your dream job is for you.
To Mr. Poska, teaching is about getting the students to think for themselves. Indeed, in his classes, it is a must. He says that while giving students facts is his job, if he gets them to see something in a different way, or see something they haven’t seen before, it is all worth it. It is something he feels that the education system can improve on. It provides students facts, but the facts should be used more to understand one’s surroundings and their culture. Culturally literacy, not just literacy in subjects, is what Mr. Poska feels we should work on. It will help interconnect not only our diverse school, but the world if we can better understand ourselves and each other. Mr. Poska also wants to have us become more reliant on ourselves, “to put onus (responsibility) on yourself.” Responsibility to find the truth especially- make sure what you read or watch is credible, to make an informed opinion. Don’t just copy what is said on the TV, or on social media, make some effort to inform yourself.
Mr. Poska truly enjoys teaching the students of FDR. In fact, the kids at FDR are his favorite part. Year in and year out, the students who come here bring something of value to the school. When he started teaching at FDR, it was a community high school. Although the school now has people coming from all over the city, it still keeps the sense of community, family and harmony. Mr. Poska wishes there was more friendly competition between the students and staff. Competition would increase the understanding that we have for each other, in a fun and productive way. It can be educational too! He spoke of the Quizball we had 10 years ago, which was a trivia game between students and staff. It was a goal for the students to educate themselves and each other, for the sole purpose of besting their teachers. He also wishes for more involvement in school activities, such as plays, sporting events, and cultural expressions like the Multicultural Festival. All of this would help the feeling of inclusiveness, in this already inclusive school.
To the class of 2017, Poska has this to say, “Stay true to who you are, and don’t stop looking for answers”.