Two Local Teachers, Forced From Their Homes, Committed To Teach

There has been a great effort in the wake of Hurricane Sandy to get kids back to school — a not so easy challenge, especially considering that many of the school personnel and teachers have been dealing with their own challenges at home.

A New York Daily News report spotlights two Southern Brooklyn teachers who, in spite of having their homes rendered uninhabitable,  have made it their mission to get back to work teaching as soon as possible.

Trudi Heatherly, a Gerritsen Beach native and public school teacher at PS 253, 601 Oceanview Avenue, saw four feet of water flood her home, ruin her furniture and force her and her family to flee to the safety of a friend’s house. Despite her displacement, and the stress of her damaged home looming over her, Heatherly found her way to work last Friday. She navigated the crippled mass transit system, with the hope of returning a semblance of normalcy to her life, telling The Daily News that, “It was a disaster. But we will come back.”

Elaine Cohen, an Oceanside, LI resident who teaches at McKinley Junior High School in Bay Ridge, also put her teaching profession front and center despite crippling damage done to her home. Sandy flooded Cohen’s house, car, and cut her power, also forcing her family to relocate to a friend’s home. Despite this, she made it to work this past Friday.

“That’s what you do, if you are a teacher. You teach,” Cohen told The Daily News.

Cohen also went to considerable trouble in managing to find transportation to and from work during the disaster. “It would be nice if the Mayor would understand a little bit more,” she said, referencing the mayor’s plea for all city and public workers to return to work as soon as possible.

Despite the considerable trouble that local teachers such as Heatherly and Cohen are going through, their efforts in teaching kids and keeping the schools open are critically vital to the restoration of normalcy needed in our area, and we thank them for their efforts.


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