Mr. Brook Zelcer | Teen Ink

Mr. Brook Zelcer

March 29, 2023
By ErinYoon BRONZE, Norwood, New Jersey
ErinYoon BRONZE, Norwood, New Jersey
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Don't be a robot, be a human."

Growing up, I’ve always had a special fondness for my English teachers. Whether it’s my fourth-grade teacher that taught me the difference between a semicolon and a colon or my freshman teacher that introduced me to Shakespeare. Each new school year, I was so excited to meet my new teachers, but never once did I expect to find a teacher like Mr. Zelcer. 

Long before I entered my junior year, I heard stories about how amazing being in Mr. Zelcer’s AP Language and Composition class was, so of course, I went to class that first day with sky-high expectations. It was in that class I felt my perception of education change. Growing up heavily goal orientated, every essay I wrote was crafted to achieve the highest possible grade, not to learn. It was under the guidance of Mr. Zelcer that allowed me to open my eyes.

The goal of his class wasn’t just to teach us how to pass the exam. It wasn’t about getting an A at the end of each quarter. It was to teach us how to be human. We never enjoyed the process of learning and simply living in the moment because our generation was too hyperfocused on technology. He started each class by letting us dump all our worries about other classes and time spent on “The Gram,” aka Instagram. After everyone settled, it was grind time.

When I say grind, I don’t mean cramming notes into our notebooks and trying to understand what he said. I mean, we learn. He understands that each student needs different things to succeed, so he lets each of us go on our own paths—something I’ve never seen a teacher do before. It sounds odd, but it works miracles. Mr. Zelcer isn’t just an English teacher to me anymore. He’s a mentor. His smile after seeing me succeed, the fist bump I got after a good writing day are just some of the aspects of him that motivate me to work harder. 

Junior year is a difficult time for all students as its one of the biggest components of college admission. What surprised me was that even during this stressful time, even during the days I desperately wanted to go home, I always found comfort in his classroom. His passion for teaching was eminent no matter what kind of day he had, and he always lit up the room after a long day. Not only did his class gradually become the reason I came to school each day, but his class also became my safe space. 

Learning under Mr. Zelcer is something I’ll never forget. He’s the reason why I love the student and person I am today. Even without the title of Educator of the Year, he deserves to be recognized for his work and the impact he has on his students.

The author's comments:

Mr. Zelcer's class is one I will forever look forward to. Everything about how he teaches and makes each student feel seen is something I find so admirable, and I aspire to one day be a person like that for someone else. I hope that through this article, he can see first hand how much he impacts his students and brightens even their darkest days. 

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This article has 1 comment.

adrian94450 said...
on Apr. 4 at 1:16 pm
adrian94450, New York, New York
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
Amazing !!! Your writing is heartfelt and sincere, conveying the gratitude and admiration you feel for this educator. I am so touched.