Can you tell us a little about your background and how long have you been a teacher at St. John School?
This is my second year teaching Pre-K at St. John School, and my eighth year as a teacher. I previously taught at the Chestnut Hill School in Newton and at the Saint Francis School in Braintree. I received my undergraduate degree in elementary education and human development from Boston College. As an undergraduate, I enjoyed enriching student teaching opportunities that allowed me to be in diverse classrooms—from La Scuola Santa Rosa in Parma, Italy to classrooms across the greater Boston area. I returned to Boston College for a Masters Degree in curriculum and instruction.
What attracted you to teaching?
I have always considered teaching children to be the most profoundly beautiful work there is. My first students were my younger two siblings, Jessica and Mark. I enjoyed teaching them how to sound out letters, write their names, help them with their homework and assist them in unraveling new concepts. I’ve always known that I would be a teacher.
What is most rewarding about being a teacher?
I consider Pre- K to be the threshold of a child’s education. At this age, not only are students learning important academic skills, they are also acquiring and practicing life long skills that will make them successful learners. I enjoy facilitating constructive interactions and enriching experiences that encourages students to be outspoken, inquisitive and kind. I feel most rewarded as a teacher when I see my students thrive academically and socially in our classroom.
What is one thing you wish someone had told you before you started your first day of teaching?
I wish someone had told me to always be on the look out for bargain cost materials to use in the classroom. The words commonly used today are “recycle”, “reclaim” or “repurpose” but the concept is nothing new to our seniors. Making good use of found materials helps the environment and saves money. It teaches, by example, the valuable concept that we each need to do our part to step away from being a “throw away” society.
What is the hardest thing about being a teacher?
The hardest thing about being a teacher is saying good-bye to my students at the end of the academic year. During the course of the year, the classroom becomes a very close-knit group of learners. Each child is fully immersed in classroom activities and the progress they make becomes very fast paced. In June, I always wish the school year were longer. Instead, it is time to say goodbye and see the children go off.
What is something your students have taught you?
Without exception, each of my students has taught me to appreciate the simple and genuine beauty of every day life. The curiosity and amazement they show in all of their new discoveries serves as a constant reminder that adults move too fast and, in doing so, miss so much.
What do you like to do in your free time and why do you enjoy doing it?
In my spare time, I enjoy learning about, and viewing, masterpiece art. I took art history courses at Boston College and found the subject to be absolutely fascinating. For several summers, I led tours through some of the great museums of Italy. My favorite pieces are religious in nature. I find peace and beauty in great art.
What’s your favorite funny story about yourself?
When I was in college, I drove a Jeep Wrangler with a top that zippered off. One day when I was going to school, I noticed that a squirrel had somehow gotten into the jeep and had made himself comfortably at home. No matter how much I tried to unzip and open the top, the squirrel was defiant and wouldn’t leave. I set out food but nothing worked. Eventually, I had to make other plans to get to class. Later in the day, when my family got home, my younger brother opened both doors of the jeep and the squirrel quickly jumped out. He didn’t even have to lift the broom he was holding in his hand. My family still teases me that I fought a battle with a squirrel and the squirrel won.
What was your favorite toy (or game) as a child, and why?
As a child, my favorite toy was a Victorian dollhouse that I shared with my younger sister. We played with it for hours and hours, enacting all kinds of different and fun scenarios for the little family that inhabited our little make believe world.