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The Southern Bell
The Southern Bell

South’s Newest Literati

Though we are already into our third month of this new school year, we are still noticing new teachers appearing in our classrooms and hallways, especially in our...

71 Views | Published January 10, 2019 | Edited October 6, 2023

Tags: #interviews #new-faculty


Tammy Aronbayev

The Southern Bell - Writer
(Tammy Aronbayev) —

Though we are already into our third month of this new school year, we are still noticing new teachers appearing in our classrooms and hallways, especially in our English department. Although we all may not adore the reading and writing requirements of high school, our new teachers are looking to find new and fun ways to help students learn and understand the many facets of literature and writing. I believe that it is important for teachers to get to know their students and listen to what they have to say, keeping an open mind. This understanding can foster a sense of community and an opportunity for dialogue within a classroom. It is just as important for students to get to know their teachers, which is why I have taken the time to interview South’s newest English teachers, Ms. Ward and Ms. Caggiano. Ms. Ward explained that she previously worked at Longwood High School, and after a position opened at South, she researched the school and thought the she would be a great fit. While Ms. Ward started on Long Island, Ms. Caggiano worked in Brooklyn. She lives in Suffolk county and said that her decision to make the move stemmed from, “the commute being more pleasant,” and that the choice to work here, “was a no brainer; everyone I met was incredibly kind and I heard wonderful things about the students and community.”

I’ve wondered if my teachers always wanted to teach, so I asked our two interviewees. When she was a child, Ms. Caggiano want ed to be a writer and said that, “as I grew, I realized that I didn't have the disposition to be a writer (rejection was not my jam), so I took my love of writing and books and became a teacher. When I was a teenager, a lot of the adults that I looked up to, outside of my family, were my English t eachers. I remembered how much they inspired and believed in me, and it's my hope that I can do that for my students.” Unlike Ms. Caggiano, Ms. Ward stated that, “I always thought about being a teacher when I was a child but after high school, I originally went to college to pursue a Biology degree for nursing.” Ms. Ward goes on to state that, “I knew that I wanted a job where I was not sitting at an office desk all day long, but instead could make a difference in the lives of others. After freshman year of college, I realized I didn't have a passion for any of the science classes I was taking, so I switched my major to English, and things started to fall into place.”

When asked about why she decided to teach upper grades instead of elementary, Ms. Caggiano said that, “I've always felt I connect better with older students. There's room for sarcasm, and an opportunity to witness students discovering their individuality. You're at a point in your life where you're learning who you are and that's a powerful thing to be a part of; and it’s also one of the best parts about teaching.” The best part about teaching for Ms. Ward “is when you get to witness students achieve a goal that they have been working toward and knowing that you were able to help them reach their full potential.”

These two teachers seem to already be a great addition to the South community, and their passion and excitement for teaching and being here at South is palpable. When I ended the interview, I asked where they both saw themselves in five years, and each hopes they’ll be here at South!

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