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Teacher Feature: A New Voice for Durfee Students
 

Kelsey Rodrigues '14
Staff Reporter
October 25, 2013

 

As we approach November, most of the new faces at Durfee have adjusted to the rigorous and spirited pace of our school. Among these new faces are not only freshmen, but new teachers, who have had a transition equally as drastic as the ninth graders. One especially notable addition to the Durfee community is math teacher Ethan Peritz. 

 

A former preschool teacher, Peritz made the decision to teach at a higher level after it became apparent to him that some of his students, “would struggle with reading or even drop out of school.” “I learned how many children in this country do not receive the education I was able to receive,” Peritz explained. While he initially did not expect to be teaching high school, it is a decision he does not regret, stating that, “I think all of my students are the coolest people in the universe, and I could not be happier or more proud."

 

Peritz grew up in Wilton, Connecticut, a small town about 40 minutes outside of New York City. As a child, he and his family frequently visited Manhattan, with his parents eventually making it their permanent residence. He went to high school at Green Farms Academy, remarking that it was, “Very, very different from Durfee! My graduating class had about 65 kids in it.” Peritz is a proud graduate of Tufts University, located in Medford, Massachusetts. He is currently working to receive his Master’s degree from Boston University. 

 

Peritz has greatly felt Durfee’s sense of unity and acceptance. He has been especially welcomed by the math department, calling his coworkers, “a really fun and dedicated group of teachers.” His favorite thing about his job is the students. “They impress me every day and they have made this first year extremely fun and challenging in the best ways.” Peritz tries to the emphasize the importance of attendance to his students, after recognizing the enormity of the issue at Durfee. 


Besides math, Peritz loves to write. He looks forward to working with seniors and juniors in making plans for after high school. “I have decided to really focus on what it takes to write a great personal essay,” he says. Peritz encourages students to share their essays with him and intends to turn a wall in his classroom, “into a one-stop-shop for common app essay-writing inspiration and resources.” His goal is to teach “the whole person as opposed to just teaching math skills.” 

 

Peritz hopes to help students grow in “competence, confidence, character, conduct, community and caring.” As an incentive, he rewards points to students at the end of each week for exhibiting skills based on the six C’s. At the end of the school year, Peritz has agreed to shave his head into a dyed mohawk if his classes can achieve a combined total of 500 points. “I think of it as a way of saying that I care about those six things so much that I am willing to look like a total moron if my students prove to me that they became better people over the course of the year,” he explains. 

 

With his intense dedication, optimistic personality, and fun approach to teaching, Peritz is surely a fan favorite among students and teachers alike. In the future, Peritz sees himself, “playing a big role in the world of public education,” contributing in ways like developing curricula and assessments. His determination to ensure students get the best education they possibly can is valuable to those at any level. Peritz is a proud advocate not only for Durfee students, but for children all over the country.