‘Nice to be loved’: Cardozo High School social studies teacher brings musical talent to the classroom

Cardozo High School Social Studies teacher Phil Ackerman has a strong rapport among his students. (Photo courtesy of Phil Ackerman)

While Phil Ackerman was unable to fulfill his dream of becoming a rock ‘n’ roll star, he’s certainly earned the same kind of admiration from his colleagues and students as a social studies teacher at Benjamin Cardozo High School. Ackerman has spent 27 years teaching at the school, nearly the entirety of his teaching career.

Ackerman understands the importance of being able to prepare high school kids for the next major steps in their life. He takes pride in preparing them for the real world, making sure they have the tools necessary to thrive for the rest of their academic and vocational lives.

Ackerman often applies his musical talents to the lessons in his class. He comes up with songs related to topics being discussed during lessons, which has helped earn him the admiration of his 34 student classes.

“I certainly take pride in how the kids [at Cardozo High School] feel about me,” Ackerman said. “My students get excited seeing me walking down the halls. It’s nice to be loved.”

Ackerman doesn’t just work as a teacher at Cardozo High School, he has also volunteered at Kempo Martial Arts in Hicksville. The students he’s helped there range in age from as young as 4 to as old as 62.

Considering the large number of students who attend Cardozo High School, it’s refreshing to know there are teachers there like Ackerman who have been able to make such a big impression on them.

According to Ackerman, he views the classroom as his stage and the students there as an audience taking in the performances that are his lessons. In a way, he truly is living out his dreams of being a rock star.

“I get my stage every day,” Ackerman said. “Teaching these students is what allows me to perform.”