2018 Blackboard Award Honoree: Michael Veve

Karen Haberberg

Editor’s note: To read profiles of all 2018 Blackboard Awards honorees, click HERE!

Michael Veve
Grade 5-8, Literature, Writers Workshop,
Social Studies, Theater Arts, Science & Special
Education Services
The Center School

Tell us about some of the special joys and challenges you’ve experienced as
a teacher.

I’ve had the opportunity to learn my craft alongside some of the best educators to ever stand in front of a chalkboard, including the teacher who has influenced me the most as an educator, the incomparable Rhonda Wilkins. Teaching is a craft woven of faith in the possibility of a better world, and teaching is a career built of hope in the potential of humanity.

Please share a special project or achievement that you are particularly proud of from this year.

My Writers Workshop class this year is called “Song of Myself,” after the poem by Walt Whitman. Students write poems about various aspects of their lives and collect the steps of the process in the book that they bind. The celebratory readings we hold on the day the poem books are collected is always a beautiful day. It’s important for me that young people learn that “talent” really comes down to effort, self-reflection, and the mindset that writing improves through time spent refining writing.

Michael Veve with executive editor of New York Family Mia Weber. Photo by Daniel S. Burnstein.

What keeps you motivated and committed to being a dedicated and hard-working educator?

My dream in these times comes from the great privilege Center School affords me to stand beside, and to participate in sending out into the world, brave and brilliant young people. They are artists, activists, athletes, academics, and actors who lead table groups, star in school performances, and share and argue
and debate in class discussions. They serve as mentors and teachers and friends for one another, and for me and my colleagues… I had read science plays with students in the past, but I never had a group that insisted that we actually perform one. We performed some scenes from the play as an
experiment that came to full fruition three years later with our “Informed Consent” production.

What do you love about your school?

Our principal Ms. Schwartz has created in Center School a learning environment that encourages and challenges everyone to question, to think critically, to extend empathy to one another, and to embrace a willingness to grow. My colleagues are brilliant, interesting people who inspire and offer the sort of support and advice that is crucial to helping me elevate my professional practice. I love my students, and the friendships I have formed with so many of their parents over the years as well.