Lee County Schools Teacher in the Spotlight — Christina Allegretto
Name: Christina Allegretto
School: Deep River Elementary School
Grades/subjects you teach: 4th Grade Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Education (high school & college attended, degrees): Lafayette High School, Williamsburg, VA; College of William and Mary/Christopher Newport University, Bachelor's of Sociology with a Minor in Childhood Studies/Master's of Elementary Education
Brief work history:
During Undergraduate and Graduate School: Substitute Teacher (elementary-school level); Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) tutor (high-school level)
During My Professional Years: K-12 grade tutor — 10 years; 1st grade teacher — 2 years; 4th grade teacher — 6 years
4th grade teacher; Deep River Elementary website administrator; personal mentor for new teachers; orchestrator of the school recycling program; tutor.
2011-2012 Teacher of the Year; Grant Recipient (2013); Leadership Committee Member (2011-2013)
Hobbies/interests outside teaching: Photography, Traveling, Music, Reading, Foodie.
Family: Parents live in Williamsburg, VA; younger brother lives in Chicago, IL
What led you to a career as a teacher?
I graduated with my Bachelor's and was not sure what I wanted to do with a Sociology degree. My father told me he felt that I had the right skills to be an effective educator, and encouraged me to get my Master's in Education. The rest, as they say, is history!
Who were your favorite teachers as you went through school, and what did you learn from them?
While many skilled educators surrounded me throughout my years in school, the most inspirational was Mrs. Case, my 11th grade mathematics teacher. Often I struggled with higher-level mathematics. She was the one teacher who encouraged me, empowered me to ask questions when I did not understand and genuinely praised my efforts—whether correct or not. Her disposition was unlike any other person I had met. I always felt that if I could make just one person feel the way that she made me feel, I might also change someone’s life. By far, she was my most influential teacher, and the one who inspired me to choose teaching as a career.
Has becoming a teacher been all you expected it would be?
It has evolved throughout the years in a multitude of ways, all of which are radically different than the experiences I had prior to having my own classroom. It is more stressful and I feel I am more challenged with our new Common Core State Standards curriculum, but classroom management has become much easier.
How has teaching changed since you were a student?
Technology, more hands-on activities, and the teacher presenting material in a multitude of ways to reach out to all learners.
What "makes your day" as a teacher?
When a child states that a lesson was fun, or when they said, “Ohhh, I get it now”!
What's working in schools today?
Integration of technology makes lessons interesting and relevant to students in the 21st Century.
What's not working?
While standardized testing can be helpful to educators, End of Grade competency tests can be skewed and may not reflect the intellectual growth of a child who is not on grade level.
What's your favorite memory of your first year as a teacher?
Becoming a part of one of my favorite student’s lives. My first year teaching, I taught 1st grade, and one of my students, Paige, truly put me on a pedestal. She is now finishing middle school — an honor roll student, and a star athlete. I feel honored to have played a key component in her education. Even more, I am honored of the pride she exhibits when she introduces me to as her “first grade teacher," and the excitement on her face when I show up for one of her sporting events, despite the years that have passed.
How would your "teacher" persona handle you as a student?
I’m very quiet, so I respect that children can be the same way. I do not force all children to verbally participate, but I do require that they demonstrate their competence in other ways that make them feel comfortable.
Best piece of advice for other teachers?
If you don’t intend to act on it, don’t say it!
Give a little extra effort and you can flourish academically.
Please work and communicate with your child’s teacher; they are professionals and want your child to succeed. It is a reflection of their abilities!
If you were superintendent for a day, you'd:
Orchestrate a grade-level meeting across the county where teachers bring successful lessons that students really enjoyed.
What about your job would surprise your non-teaching friends the most?
How “extroverted” I can be in front of a room of children — I am extremely shy and quiet around adults.
If you could somehow magically instill one truth into the heads of your students, what would it be?
“Instead of worrying about what people say of you, why not spend time trying to accomplish something they will admire.” — Dale Carnegie
When you think about today's kids, you:
Are amazed of the different ways they are smart … the standards continue to get tougher, and children continue to excel.
If one of your students was asked for a one-word description of you by a student who hadn't had you in class, what would that one word be?
Favorite movie about school or teaching:
School of Rock.
How would you summarize your teaching philosophy?
I feel that effective and efficient teaching is a truly a gift. While we can study the latest researched-based techniques, or purchase fancy teaching materials, it takes a special educator to incorporate the necessary components of teaching that successfully reaches all learners, while encouraging curiosity and life-long learning.
What five things must every teacher know?
(1) Be well-organized, so you know what resources you have available.
(2) Expect the unexpected! You MUST be adaptable.
(3) Always follow-through with what you say.
(4) In order to get respect, you must lead by example.
(5) You may never quite know the depth of impact you may have in a child’s life.
What's special about your classroom?
We work together in an environment of respect and high expectations.
What's special about your school?
A true sense of family amongst colleagues and an encouraging and supportive administration. I am truly blessed to be at Deep River!
Most unusual question you've ever gotten from a student?
“Are you married to a hockey player?” (I am the coordinator of the Carolina Hurricanes reading program at our school.)