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#KnowYourPelicans: Eric Weisberg
Posted 03/03/2017 03:47PM

Know Your Pelicans - Eric Weisberg

#KnowYourPelicans: Eric Weisberg

What is your favorite thing about Packer?

I love the students. In my experience, overwhelmingly, they're good, caring people. Among my indelible images of 9/11, I remember seeing a tight huddle of students in the Chapel, supporting a classmate who was concerned about the safety of her parent (fortunately the parent was all right). And 9/11 was not the last time I saw Packer students form that tight huddle of support. Also, our students are eager to learn, and, yes, they do, quite well.

Of course, I would be remiss if I also didn't give a shout-out to my colleagues. They're good, caring people, too, and such dedicated, talented teachers. A good measure of whatever success I've had as a teacher comes from just trying to keep up with my colleagues.

Describe a favorite or memorable moment in your classroom at Packer.

Some of my best moments with students have occurred in the course of independent studies. Over the years, I have mentored several students in creative writing. I remember one student — a karate black belt — whom you might not have suspected was a poet. He worked with me on a sequence of poems, one for each belt he had earned. It was his version of Wordsworth's The Prelude: Or, Growth of a Poet's Mind; it's just that a lot of his poem took place in a dojo. Last year, I concluded an independent study with two graduating seniors who had begun meeting with me when they were sophomores. As seniors, they laughed how jejune they thought their sophomore work was; I had to smile because they weren't quite old enough yet to see the incredible promise that had been in their work as sophomores. For a couple years, I worked with a student who launched Soapbox, an independent student journal of politics and culture. I'd love for a student today to revive it.

Name a book/artwork/piece of music that changed your life and explain how.

I can't recall the title of one book that dramatically changed my life. It was a big gray-covered book that I had asked my parents to mail me at summer camp when I was 15 years old because I was as alienated from everyone at summer camp as I was alienated from everyone except my close friends back home. The book was an anthology of modern drama; it contained several dozen plays. What was great about that book was that the people in it sounded real, unlike the people all around me; somehow those other people expressed genuine feelings. It was through reading that book cover to cover the July I was fifteen that I fell in love with literature. Later, I learned a New Guinean word that I think is a good synonym for literature: mokita. The truth everyone knows but no one speaks.

What are some things that most Packer people wouldn't know about you?

I don't think most people at Packer know that I overlapped with former President Obama at Harvard Law School. I started the year before he did. (Unlike him, I was not on the Harvard Law Review and I did not have a very distinguished legal career.) My firm had a major publisher as a client, so I specialized in the legal review (pre-publication) of the biographies of dead rock stars. One bio was of an early rock star who had died at the age of 23. It was more than 600 pages long. There are only so many 600-page-long biographies of dead rock stars that one can take. After that, I returned to teaching.

Previous Pelicans:

Kindergarten Teacher Anne Montero

Upper School Science Teacher Alice Lurain

World Languages Teacher Su-Ling Huang

Upper School Art Teacher Eric Baylin

Preschool Teacher Lynnette Arthur

Middle School English Teacher Todd Johnson

Physical Education Teacher and Coach Rich Domanico

Food Services Member Ann Martinez

Lower School Librarian Chris Rush

Upper School Computer Science Teacher Louis Minsky '09

Upper School History Teacher Monika Johnston

First Grade Teacher Irene Turner

Interim Chair of the Arts Department Ali Boag

Middle School Dean of Student Life and Health Teacher Bessie Oster

Fourth Grade Teacher Tim Jensen

Middle School Math Teacher Ashley Greene

Upper School Choral Director Esther Liu Harris

The Packer Collegiate Institute
170 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 250-0200
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