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Janet Mayer Reflects on Her Career as a Bronx High School Teacher

8th March 2011

NY Daily News Metro News writer, Corinne Lestch, sat down with author, Janet Grossbach Mayer, to discuss her upcoming book,  AS BAD AS THEY SAY?  Three Decades of Teaching in the Bronx:

Teacher’s latest chapter tells inspiring stories of Bronx kids in book.

JANET MAYER taught more than 14,000 students in two Bronx high schools during a 45-year career, and learned so much.

Janet Grossbach Mayer

Now 72, Mayer has had time to reflect on her profession in a new book, “As Bad As They Say? Three Decades of Teaching in the Bronx,” due out in April from Fordham University Press.

“The kids are not all the same, and I wanted to present different problems,” she said in an interview. “It’s very hard to teach literature to a kid whose mother just died the night before, or was evicted and living in the street.”

She said she made a promise to a class that when she retired, she would write a book about them so that the whole world could learn that Bronx students, contrary to expectations, were “young people of remarkable character, unlimited potential, uncommon courage and indomitable will.”

Mayer chronicles the hardships students faced and overcame since she started teaching English in 1960. She gives fictitious names to the schools where she taught — “Harriman High School” for an all-white school, “Carter High School” for a mostly minority one — to protect her students’ identities.

Daily News, Metro News, Monday, March 7, 2011

To read more, visit the As Bad As They Say? Facebook Fan Page.