Where did you live?
I grew up in New York. Actually, in the Bronx in New York City. I lived there for 22 years before I went into the military. Then, I started moving from place to place.

What school did you go to?
I got my Undergraduate degree at Manhattan College which is a private school in New York City, and the Air Force sent me to St. Louis University in Missouri for training and meteorology. Then, I went to University of Maryland for a Master’s in science and meteorology. And then I took some education courses here in Florida at USF and HCC.

What was your favorite subject and why?
Oddly enough, I really liked Physics and Math. It made sense to me, and it was in logical order. I also liked history. I feel like we need to know where we came from before we know where we’re going.

How were your grades?
My grades were good. I wasn’t perfect, but they were good. I was and A/B student in most of my classes. Except for languages. Those didn’t work for me.

What did you like to do and why?
Three things: I liked to play baseball, I liked to play baseball and I liked to play baseball (chuckles). Oddly enough, I was on the starting lineup (for the school). I would mess around playing football and basketball with some of my friends, but baseball was my love.

What were your friends like?
People aren’t really much different. We really had some of the same interests, even though I had friends who were in the Glee club even though I can’t sing. I had friends who were on the baseball team, obviously… people are people and they really don’t change a whole lot.

What kind of music did you enjoy?
I grew up with rock. So, all different kind of rock bands. Anywhere from Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young- which (students) probably can’t remember, (to) the Beatles, the Carpenters, to even some of the harder stuff like Van Halen and The (Rolling) Stones.

Did you want to be a teacher when you were growing up?
Absolutely not. I had no intention of teaching whatsoever. I started thinking about it towards the end of my military career. I liked technical stuff and talking to groups of people, so I asked myself, “where can I talk to a lot of people about technical stuff?” So here I am.

When did you become a teacher?
When I retired from the military in 1997. I literally took off a blue uniform and stepped into a classroom.

If you could say one thing to the teenagers of today, what would it be?
Try and be the best human being that you can be. Give a little kindness and consideration to everyone else. If everybody was just a little bit kinder, a little bit more considerate, just think how that would ripple.

How do you think high school life has changed since you were there?
(Chuckles) At my high school, I had to wear a jacket and tie. You guys are a little more liberal on what you can and can’t wear. The music is a little different, the vocabulary is a little different, but oddly enough, it hasn’t changed a whole lot. Nature’s simply recycled the same personalities and I see some of the same things.

Ben Schneider


Remember to comment which teacher you’d like to see featured next! Then, check back on May 4 for the next installment of Back in the Day.

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