East Meadow HS teacher hopes to encourage Asian Americans to consider career in education
An East Meadow High School teacher used her time during the pandemic to inspire other Asian Americans to consider becoming educators.
Dr. Mary Waring has taught English at the school for 23 years, but she never encountered an Asian teacher growing up in West Babylon.
She only decided she wanted to get into education after volunteering at a juvenile detention center in upstate New York.
During the pandemic, Waring was watching the racial tensions in the media and trying to bridge the disconnect for her students who were learning remotely.
"I remember this very vivid conversation my mother was telling me about being in a store, and someone said something about, 'Go back to your country,'" Waring says. "I remember being so upset because she is this little, tiny thing and she is self-conscious of her accent."
Waring realized there wasn't an educator organization representing Asians on Long Island, so she helped found the Asian Pacific American Counsel of Educators.
She says it is a place for students and teachers to join together and share and celebrate diversity.
"As a teacher, you look at it from the perspective of 'OK, how can I use my career to change those things,'" Waring says.
Waring also used the pandemic to finish her doctorate in education at Long Island University.
She says she plans to change policy from the inside and use her classroom to influence generations of students while teaching at East Meadow High School.
Waring also received an award this month with eight other Long Islanders by the Suffolk County Asian American Advisory Board, honoring accomplished Asian Americans from all walks of life encouraging their communities.