Dr. Tom Blozy, Math
In 2005, longtime Brooklyn Tech math teacher Dr. Tom Blozy received the prestigious Newton Master Teacher
Fellowship, a four-year award for outstanding teachers of mathematics who demonstrate solid mathematical
knowledge and have outstanding performance records. We asked Blozy about his background and his Tech
experience, and here is what he shared:
We gather your career at Tech was your second. What made you decide to switch?
I originally studied Aerospace Engineering in college, but felt that I needed to experience something new after
undergraduate school. I joined the Peace Corps and became a math/science/ technology teacher in Ghana, West Africa.
I joined the Peace Corps more for the adventure. I hadn't thought of teaching as a career, but immediately after I started
teaching I found I had a passion for it. I've been teaching for 22 years total and 19 years at Tech.
You have a doctorate in mathematics education. What motivated you to pursue that?
After the Peace Corps I enrolled in the Peace Corps Fellows program at Teacher College, Columbia University. The program allowed me to teach full time while earning my master's degree. I especially enjoyed the math content courses taught by excellent teachers. I continued taking classes, motivated by the mathematics, until I received my doctorate. Using my doctorate degree, I did some work beyond the high school classroom (teaching at colleges, doing research, working in administrator roles), but I found I enjoyed teaching in the classroom the most. Being at Tech I can teach talented, highly motivated students in challenging college level classes.
How does teaching at Tech compare to your experience teaching in Ghana?
Students around the world struggle with the same mathematical concepts: fractions, algebraic factoring, geometric proofs, limits etc. The math is the same whether it is taught in a village with no electricity / running water or in one of the largest, most advanced cities in the world. The largest differences are in the day-to-day lives the students have to live in; life in a village with little access to technology is much simpler than living in New York City. Life for students at Brooklyn Tech can be very complicated and overwhelming. The same technology and advances that are designed to make life easier for us, can actually over complicate.
You teach BC Calculus. Does every student love the class and do well at it? How do you help along those that don't?
BC Calculus is my favorite math content course to teach. It is a culmination of all the mathematics a student has seen and is a gateway to studying math and math related courses in college. It is beautiful to develop the Calculus step by step, theorem by theorem. It is my goal that each student learns to appreciate the Calculus as much as I do. While students do struggle at times in the course, I find that working together in groups, as a class, and as a team, that the whole class can excel together.
What is your favorite thing about Tech, and what do you find most challenging?
The students at Tech are the strength of Tech. The students here work extremely hard and are ultra-eager to learn. When I find myself overwhelmed or frustrated with school, it is the students that motivate me to continue on. The students are also the most challenging thing about Tech. Trying to meet the needs of so many students, each with their own strengths and learning styles, with limited time and resources is a never-ending struggle.