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The Didactic Dorkings Duo

Mother and Mathematician–Mrs. Susan Dorkings cradles her newborn daughter Ms. Danielle Dorkings. Mrs. Dorkings always knew she wanted to be a teacher–she was “always playing school” as a child.

Double Dorkings–A young Ms. Danielle Dorkings is held by her mother, Mrs. Susan Dorkings. Ms. Dorkings was an engineer before she decided to switch careers and become a teacher.

Like Mother Like Daughter–Mrs. Susan Dorkings and her daughter Ms. Danielle Dorkings in Venice, Italy this past summer. Ms. Dorkings was initially skeptical to work in the same building as her mother but has come to embrace the opportunity.

By Jacqueline Liao

On any given school day, math teacher Ms. Danielle Dorkings can be found writing geometry problems or statistics questions on a board. On some days, however, you will also find another Ms. Dorkings in the math hallway; Mrs. Susan Dorkings, who typically works with ESL students in the study center, stops by occasionally to visit her daughter. “I love seeing Danielle teach,” Mrs. Dorkings said. “I love seeing her interactions with the kids.”

Mrs. Dorkings, who also teaches at Nassau Community College, always knew she wanted to be a teacher. “From the time I was little, I was already playing school. I always knew that that was what I wanted to do,” she said. “I just love all kinds of teaching. I’m very lucky to have found a career that I enjoy so much.”

On the contrary, Ms. Dorkings didn’t always know her passion lay in teaching. Even though her mother and several other relatives were teachers, she worked as an engineer for many years after graduating from Penn State University with a civil engineering degree. She quit engineering when she felt unsatisfied with her career and decided to try teaching. Ms. Dorkings enjoys her second career more than her first because her students make her laugh. “I didn’t laugh every day while I was working as an engineer,” she said. “I also like how every day is different when I teach.”

When Ms. Dorkings first looked for a teaching job, she applied for one at Great Neck North because she “thought it would be weird to teach with [her] mom.” However, Ms. Joan Casazzone, then South’s math department head, convinced her to teach at South, and she has been here ever since.

“When she first began to teach here, I always avoided her because I wanted to give her space,” Mrs. Dorkings recounted. After a while, however, Mrs. Dorkings felt comfortable enough to stop by her daughter’s classroom every so often. “I would walk into the room, and the students would have no idea who I am,” said Mrs. Dorkings. “When they found out, they would really get a kick out of it.”

Mrs. Dorkings expressed that her favorite part of working with her daughter is that she is able to see her on a daily basis. “I see her for at least three minutes every day,” said Mrs. Dorkings. “How many mothers get to see their grown-up daughters every day?” Ms. Dorkings also enjoys spending time with her mother, saying that her favorite “perks” of working together is when they supervise the same school events and when her mom treats her to dinner.

Both mother and daughter agreed that the best part of teaching is the interactions with the students. “The students are always so grateful,” said Mrs. Dorkings, as her daughter nodded in agreement. “That’s the best part of this job.”

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