Teacher Spotlight



  Everyday as we walk into the classroom, teachers hear about our lives and responsibilities as students. But when was the last time you heard about your teachers’ lives: how they grew up, or even their opinion on issues besides school? Our teachers are more than what we see in the classroom.

  I asked computer science teacher Phil Ribaudo, and math teachers Anna Scicinska and Christine Walters to answer questions about their life experiences and give advice to students.

One of the best days of Ribaudo’s life was when he got the call from his father who had become cancer-free. Personally, hearing about some of the best days of his life made me want to learn more about the advice he has to share.

  He says, “Nothing is the end of the world except the end of the world … so stop worrying.” Especially as students, getting a bad grade seems like the end of the world, but we have to remember that it does not lead to failure, and if we get back up and try again, we will succeed.

  Scicinska is one of the many talented math teachers at Pinewood. She is funny, warm-hearted, and cannot survive without cheese and books. Scicinska is never afraid to try something new, and has gone rappelling in the British Isles. Like most of the students and teachers at Pinewood, she has learned many valuable life lessons and skills from her priceless experiences and memories. If she could impart one lesson to her students, it would be that there is always a tomorrow. Like Ribaudo, Scicinska knows that everyone goes through trials, but as we go through those trials, we also have to remember that there is always another day to be better than the person we were the day before.

  Walters, another amazing math teacher, is talented, funny, and a joy to be around. Like all teachers at Pinewood, she cares deeply about her students and their lives outside of school. The most valuable lesson she has learned in life is to “find out what makes you happy while simultaneously finding out how to make a living.”  

  When I asked her what one of the best days of her life was, she started giggling with joy and told me the story of her and her adventures with her friend. “One of the best days of my life was the night I camped on the beach with my best friend, Brenda, whom I am still in contact with. We were on a two-week bike trip all over New England. The best part of the trip was when we were biking up this mountain and I said, ‘Brenda, look at the size of those sheep!’ [But] they were Jersey cows. I don’t think I have ever laughed that hard in my life.” One thing Walters could not survive without is “frequent contact with [her] children because they are so wonderful and warm and supportive.”

  Interviewing these teachers was so much fun because I learned so much about their lives and experiences. We all go through different experiences in life, both good and bad. But through the most enjoyable moments in life to the most challenging trials, we learn more about ourselves and who we want to become in the future. Each of the teachers I interviewed showed both passion for living life to its fullest and exploring and trying new things; yet they have all gone through hardships and challenges just like us students. We all have a story, and at Pinewood, I think we should make an effort to get to know each other’s stories and not only listen, but to learn from them.