NTU’s Farley is thankful for student’s kind words in Teacher Appreciation Week story

He’s been a teacher in the Newark public school system for 27 years, and for 17 of them, he’s been teaching health and physical education at Science Park High School.

Now Newark Teachers Union member Patrick Farley can add “teacher who couldn’t be stopped during the pandemic” to his resume.

That distinction was given to him May 3 by Chalkbeat in a Teacher Appreciation Week story by Susan Gonzalez in which readers from around the country “salute educators who went above and beyond,” according to its headline.

The section of the story devoted to unstoppable teachers has three entries, among them one attributed to a student named Ashley Lourenco: “Mr. Farley encourages students and colleagues to stay healthy (physically and mentally) and informed during the pandemic. He goes the extra mile [to make] sure his community is the best it can be.”

“I was totally surprised when I saw Ashley’s comment about me,” says Farley, who found out May 4 about the Chalkbeat story. “It was very flattering and unexpected. Teachers across our district, state and country have been working very hard since the pandemic. So it was an honor to be recognized by one of my students about my instruction this year during the pandemic. I really appreciated her acknowledgement.”

Asked to explain how he goes the extra mile, Farley says, “I have been taking courses to become a Google Educator. Since the pandemic, I have attended various webinars to learn different online learning platforms to improve my classroom instruction using technology in class.”

Farley’s students have gravitated to these learning platforms; they’ve used them to create sites that provide viewers with information about wellness classes, sports and recreational activities.

“I think that [using such platforms] motivates them to participate more in class and to stay engaged in classroom instruction,” he adds.