Tom Bloch on Success as a Teacher

Tom Bloch: I would say that in an urban setting, a teacher has to recognize that they may not get a whole lot of respect from students, and that for me was a very difficult eye-opener, because I came from an environment where I got lots of respect as a CEO, working with highly-motivated people who wanted to get ahead, and suddenly I was in a classroom, where I was working with students who often didn’t see themselves as even having a future, and so why should they invest their time and effort in their education if there is no real future for them?

And so dealing with an apathetic or a disrespectful student, I think, is a bit more common in the urban core than you would find in a suburban school. And one of the things I learned, and it took me quite a while to learn this is how does a teacher teach respect? And I finally figured it out, it is to show respect. If you show a kid enough respect, sooner or later that child will start showing you respect.

About half of all new urban teachers leave within three years. It’s a very scary statistic. It suggests to me two things. One is it’s a very difficult environment in which to succeed, number 1. And number 2, it suggests that we’re not doing an adequate job preparing young teachers for this environment. So I think, as long as people understand the challenges that they’re going to encounter as a teacher in the urban core and can prepare themselves for that, they can succeed. And once you get it, once you figure out how to be successful, it is a terribly satisfying profession.


Recorded on: October 13, 2008


Tom Bloch says the attrition rate is high for educators who are just starting out in urban schools, but, if they show respect, they will receive respect.

Meet the Bajau sea nomads — they can reportedly hold their breath for 13 minutes

The Bajau people's nomadic lifestyle has given them remarkable adaptions, enabling them to stay underwater for unbelievable periods of time. Their lifestyle, however, is quickly disappearing.

Wikimedia Commons
Culture & Religion
  • The Bajau people travel in small flotillas throughout the Phillipines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, hunting fish underwater for food.
  • Over the years, practicing this lifestyle has given the Bajau unique adaptations to swimming underwater. Many find it straightforward to dive up to 13 minutes 200 feet below the surface of the ocean.
  • Unfortunately, many disparate factors are erasing the traditional Bajau way of life.
Keep reading Show less

'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
  • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
  • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists create a "lifelike" material that has metabolism and can self-reproduce

An innovation may lead to lifelike evolving machines.

Shogo Hamada/Cornell University
Surprising Science
  • Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
  • The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
  • The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material's DNA.
Keep reading Show less