BHS Verbatim Interview: Mr. Miller


Mr. Miller, algebra and calculus teacher, helped create and sharpen many STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) minds here at Bethpage High School. Each class I have with him, he shares many stories from his past, whether it is about his hobby of tagging fish around Long Island for Stony Brook University or his love of engineering. His many passions intrigued me. In this issue of The Eagle’s Cry, we sat down with Mr. Miller to get the scoop of his love for everything STEM.  

The Eagle’s Cry: What did you do before you were a teacher?

Mr. Miller: “I started teaching when I was 30.  Before teaching, I was a College Crew Coach and Director of Admissions for Touro Law School.”

The Eagle’s Cry: You work with Stony Brook University frequently for your hobby of fishing. Why don’t you work with them full time?

Mr. Miller: “Mainly because I love teaching and wouldn’t want to give it up for full-time fishing.  In addition, it is difficult to support a family being a full-time fishing charter captain. Most captains on LI are part-timers.  Although, I’ll certainly do it full-time once I decide to retire from teaching.”

The Eagle’s Cry: Why did you choose to become a math teacher and not a marine biologist?

Mr. Miller: “I’ve always loved math and completed a bunch of math courses as an aeronautical engineering major.  Unfortunately, Grumman closed on LI the year before I graduated, which created a situation where there were very few engineering jobs available. When I finally came around to making a decision as to what to pursue, teaching was an easy transition given the course work I had completed.”

The Eagle’s Cry: Where did you go to college?  

Mr. Miller: “Dowling College and Stony Brook.”

The Eagle’s Cry: Would you ever get a PhD and what would you get it in?

Mr. Miller: “I did get my MBA, and then there was a time that I thought about going in the direction of law and getting a JD, but once I decided to go back to school for teaching, I was pretty laser focused on that.”

The Eagle’s Cry: How do you make your math classes fun?  

Mr. Miller: “I’m not really sure if students think my math class is ‘fun,’ but I’m truly enthusiastic about math and the things you can accomplish with it, so I do my best to express that throughout the lessons. In the end, the last thing that I want to be is a taskmaster. I want students to be in the class because they’re curious and want to learn more about math.”

The Eagle’s Cry: What’s your favorite class to teach: Algebra or Calculus?

Mr. Miller: “My favorite class to teach is Pre-Calculus. Mainly because it’s my course and my curriculum and I can take it in any direction I choose.” 

The Eagle’s Cry: How do you think your students perceive you?

Mr. Miller: “Again, I’m really not sure. Generally, I think I’m pretty easy going.”

The Eagle’s Cry: What’s it like to have past students’ siblings?

Mr. Miller: “Many of my students have brothers or sisters that had me as a teacher. It’s always interesting to see how they are different and the same. I’ve taught entire families of 4 and even 5 kids! Ultimately, I think it’s a real privilege to be able to teach siblings.”

The Eagle’s Cry: If there is one thing you could be other than a teacher, what would it be? 

Mr. Miller: “I guess I’d like to do what I was originally trained for, aeronautical engineering or a pilot. However, I’m extremely happy with the professional path I’ve pursued. I certainly feel I made more of a positive difference as a teacher… and that’s what I think it’s all about.”