By Ian Kimbell
The “Staff of the Month” for October was Mrs. Bitzegaio, an English and social studies teacher for sixth grade. She has been teaching here at Scribner for ten years. Mrs. Bitzegaio has a lot of teaching experience, having taught at Silver Street, Green Valley, S. Ellen Jones, Clay City, and Bloomington. She has taught all grades from kindergarten to sixth grade. Mrs. Bitzegaio said that she has absolutely liked Scribner so far.
This is Mrs. Bitzegaio’s third year teaching fifth and sixth grade high ability. She loves teaching high ability, saying that she likes the students’ zest for learning and that the students soak up information like sponges. She keeps students interested in class by being interested herself. Mrs. Bitzegaio says that she teaches how she would like to be taught. She feels that her method of teaching is effective for her, but teaching styles are as individual as learning styles. Her method of teaching makes her look forward to coming to school every day.
Mrs. Bitzegaio has had an interest in teaching since she was nine or ten years old. At that age, she knew she wanted to be either a teacher or interior designer. After she taught for a short while, she was accepted into law school. “It was then that I realized that I couldn’t go, because I love teaching so much,” Mrs. Bitzegaio told me. When not teaching or making lesson plans, she says that her passions are reading, gardening, and traveling.
When asked how she felt about earning the “Staff of the Month” award, Mrs. Bitzegaio said that she was very proud and honored. I asked her why she thought her students wanted her to be “Staff of the Month”, and Mrs. Bitzegaio’s face brightened as she reached for the letters of recommendation her students sent. Just a few comments were, “She always has a good joke up her sleeve that makes the whole class laugh. She is kind and light-hearted, but she always gets stuff done. She always encouraged reading and made it sound fun. She always plans fun activities for us.”
Next, I decided to see what the students had to say about Mrs. Bitzegaio. I interviewed four students from Mrs. Bitzegaio’s fifth grade class: Praveen, Conner, Layne, and Emma. I first asked them if they thought Mrs. Bitzegaio deserves the “Staff of the Month” award. All four said yes. Praveen said she is hard working, Conner said she is funny, Layne mentioned that she never yells, and Emma said that Mrs. Bitzegaio is nice. The students said that Mrs. Bitzegaio keeps class interesting by showing videos like BrainPop, NOVA, and a shark video, and reading about a variety of topics such as Hurricane Sandy. Mrs. Bitzegaio is different from other teachers because she doesn’t yell or single out one person, she doesn’t domineer over her students, and her room is very cozy. I heard a lot about Mrs. Bitzegaio’s room. Students say that she has nice carpets, a stuffed panther, and the room is very organized. The most important thing about teaching is making sure your students learn. All of the students surveyed say that they have indeed learned a lot in Mrs. Bitzegaio’s class.
Mrs. Bitzegaio, Praveen, Conner, Layne, and Emma were interviewed in the making of this article.