Mr. Gersten’s Retirement


Sienna Hilbourne, Writer

Mr. Gersten, beloved YHS teacher, is retiring this year after 13 years teaching mathematics. He explains, “I reached what is typically a retirement age, and teaching has changed quite a bit in the 26 years I’ve taught. It’s become harder to be honest. I put a lot of effort into it, and I hope kids can see that. I’m tired, and feeling it’s time to do some fun stuff for me.” 

Before working at YHS, he worked as a 8th grade math teacher, teaching primarily algebra 1, in Brookline, Massachusetts for 13 years. However, he says “Living in the Boston area, there was a lot of traffic and the car was hit four times. I had friends up here and I visited a lot. So, I decided to bite the bullet and get out of the big city to come somewhere more calm.” He chose math because he has a bachelors of science in applied mathematics and loves the subject. He also reveals that for 13 years, “Prior to becoming a teacher, I worked for IBM writing software for nuclear submarines as a subcontractor to the navy. I really enjoyed working in a very mathematical field.”

He is proud of his impact on the school, happy for the hard work and preparation he puts in every day. He explains, “I want my students to do well. There are times I get frustrated when I want them to do well more than they want to do well, but I am always happy to make a difference where I can. I think my contribution has just been to be very present.” 

As Mr. Gersten prepares to leave, he shares some advice to help future teachers make the most of their position. He advises, “Don’t sweat the small stuff, and absolutely hold the line in terms of kids doing their work. It’s their job, just like I have a job. I think everyone’s parents and guardians would expect me to be prepared to meet their kids each day and do my job. You could say, I get paid for that, but I think the students just don’t get paid for doing their job yet. What they’re doing is creating insurance for themselves.” When teaching, he stresses that if students are not prepared, there’s not much point.

Mr. Gersten will treasure his days here and the people he met along the way. He talks about some of his fondest memories being “my department. We are good, funny, and very fun outside of school. I like eating lunch with them and chatting. I’ll miss my coworkers greatly.”

When his days at YHS are almost over he begins thinking about the future. Working full time, he does not have a lot of time for travel and relaxation. Mr. Gersten shares, “I am going to hang on a beach for the summer, I know that for sure. I’m also going to investigate some volunteer situations. I’ve played pickleball in the past, so I will join a league. I’m also going to travel, but nothing is set in stone. I will go wherever the wind blows me.”

Before he leaves he wants to tell the YHS community, “It’s been interesting in a good way, and I will miss this environment greatly.”