Getting Guys to Teach

Unique Program Recruits Men Into the Classroom by Katherinne De La Cruz

Mathew Simoy poses with the program signage. Photo by Katherinne De La Cruz

Justin Rivera, who grew up in the projects on Jackson Avenue in the Bronx, believes that sports encouraged him to maintain good grades and behavior in school. Now, he’d like to give back by helping boys and girls much like him. “I want to be a gym teacher,” says Rivera, a 25-year-old CCNY junior. “I am a product of my community, my environment. I lived in the projects all my life and basketball saved me.”

On Friday, February 9, Rivera took part in an innovative program called NYC Men Teach at CCNY. A partnership of The City College School of Education, local community organizations, and the Mayor’s Office, the initiative works toward encouraging more Black, Latino, and Asian men to become teachers and diversify classrooms. New York City public schools are comprised of 43% of male students of color, but only 8.3% of teachers are Black, Latino, and Asian men.

Friday’s event included guest speakers, campus tours, a networking mixer and a resource fair. Schools such as KIPP NYC had its own table to provide information. Rebecca Sleath, KIPP NYC Director of Recruitment, says, “We are always looking for new, aspiring teachers, especially men and people of color.”

To become an NYC Men Teach member you must be currently enrolled in a CUNY school, and have a minimum GPA of 3.0. Benefits of participation include a monthly metro card, and incentives such as tutoring and vouchers for EAS exam.

Justin Rivera, a member of the program, tables to provide information. Photo by Katherinne De La Cruz

Mathew Simoy, 21, would like to impact the lives of young people. “This program can teach me different roles to play in a classroom, how to be a good teacher, an effective teacher,” says Simoy, a CCNY junior.

Rivera stresses that teaching requires passion and more. “You have to know what you’re doing and be comfortable doing it,” he says.

The NYC Men Teach Initiative provides the resources to allow you to become comfortable. For more information visit and


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