Angeline Alessandri is a regular in our Monday evening yoga class, and the Sunday morning yoga class…in fact, she’s pretty much a regular at most of the classes at our local gym. Angeline is a 2009 graduate of Elizabethtown College with a degree in Elementary Education and is a first grade teacher with Manheim School District. She is also certified in Early Childhood Education and ESL and will finish a Master’s degree in teaching English as a second language in August. She is absolutely one of the most positive people I know, but she manages to be both positive and realistic. It’s funny, when I interview most women, they are sometimes puzzled by why I’d pick them as “incredible.” Angeline is one of those humbly incredible women who do such good work in the world. I’d trust my first grader to her any time and I’m glad that teachers like her are around to guide our young ones.
Q: As a first grade teacher, what message do you have for the world? You see so many kids where they are eager to learn and at such an interesting stage in life, what should people know about what you do?
AA: Kids are fascinating- plain and simple. I learn just as much from my little “firsties” as they do from me. They are kind, forgiving, intelligent, playful, imaginative, engaging, caring, and inquisitive- all at the same time with 150% gusto! My first graders teach me a lot of about life. They are so impressionable. They LOVE everything. They think everything is spectacular and new and exciting. It’s exhilarating to work with kids- it gives you a new outlook on life for sure. Sometimes the biggest obstacle of their day is what lunch choice to make! And it’s so adorably fascinating to watch something like that. They’re just so pure and innocent. It’s refreshing in the busy world in which we live in.
People should know that teachers are some of the hardest working people I know. It’s common for people to say to me, “Must be nice to have your summers off!”, but being a teacher is so much more. Teachers are some of the most dedicated and passionate people I know. We love our craft, we love to learn from each other, and most importantly we love the feeling of knowing that we’ve touched the life of a child. If you know a teacher, thank them. It means the world to us to know we’re appreciated. I’ve heard it said that teachers are in it for the OUTCOME and not the INCOME. There’s a world of truth to that saying.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge in your line of work?
AA: The biggest challenge in my line of work is probably leaving “work” at “work”. As any teacher knows, we are constantly taking steps to better ourselves as educators- to do more and become more for our students. Especially when I taught in the inner city, there were difficult stories and baggage that my students came to school with each and every day. Teaching is something that takes a lot of an individual- physically, mentally, and emotionally. I think that every teacher would agree with me that there are days that we feel defeated and there are days that we feel like we’re on top of the world. It’s being able to understand the importance of doing the best we can each and every day and to the work that’s left undone or unfinished, knowing that it’s okay to pick up where we’ve left off the following day.
Q: If you were moving and could only take one shoebox of your most treasured things, what would be in it? (Assume all your basic needs are met).
AA: My kindle (I love to read), family photos, a deck of cards (I’m a sucker for card games), and my recipe book full of family recipes.
Q: What question did I miss? What else should I know about you?
AA: My friends constantly refer to me as the “eternal optimist”. In every single situation that I’m put in, I find it my goal to find a silver lining. It could be a 90% chance of rain and I’ll keep talking about the 10% of possible sunshine- it’s sometimes almost laughable! But I don’t let the little things bother me…I don’t see a point in seeing the glass half-empty. I am blessed beyond belief and I spend my days acknowledging that gift. I enjoy the little things in life. I take time to tell my friends and family how much they mean to me every chance I get.
Oh yeah…and I love to bake cupcakes 🙂