A Hooded Warbler takes a step at Central Park in New York City. The bird was definitely going to die. The eighth-graders in Cornelius Minor’s class were walking back to their Brooklyn school when someone noticed a young bird struggling for life on the sidewalk. The students — about a dozen boys — broke line formation and huddled around. Some started to cry. Some strategized a rescue. Minor looked at the bird and at his watch. Only a few minutes remained for the creature and for class. Minor tried gently explaining that the bird wouldn’t make it, but the kids would not be moved. They urged Minor to call animal control and their science teacher for help and to notify the office that they would be late for the next period. “For me, that was the perfect assessment,” Minor said. “They were using everything that I taught them about empathy. They were using everything that they had learned in science. They were using everything that they had learned about how the city works and about how a city agency works to save the life of this bird.” That was 2009. Minor is now a teacher coach, but during his […]


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