In a school system of 1.1 million students and 75,000 educators, there are an endless number of riveting stories just waiting to be heard.

Over the last few weeks, Chalkbeat has partnered with StoryCorps to try to collect some of them. We asked New York City teachers and students to tell us about the greatest challenge they’ve faced this school year or a moment that surprised them.

Listen to a selection of those responses below, and continue sending in your stories by using the StoryCorps app and tagging “Chalkbeat” in your recorded interview.

Understanding Students’ Realities

Bronx-native Mario Benabe, a special education math teacher at Bronx River High School, talks about trying to empower his students to make a difference in their community. 

“My vision is that students do not fear that the higher up they go in education, that they have to lose pieces of who they are or where they come from.”