By Asmita Saha
This year, two dedicated teachers, Ms. Julia Roldan and Ms. Anna Maria Maniscalchi, are retiring after a combined teaching career of over 50 years. Ms. Roldan, an English as a New Language teacher, and Ms. Maniscalchi, an Italian teacher, reflected on their teaching careers.
Source by Kristen Schneider
Students gather with soon-to-be retiree Ms. Maniscalchi (far right) during a Christmas celebration.
Q: What moment first inspired you to become a teacher?
Ms. Julia Roldan: My grandma was a teacher. My mother was a teacher. My sister was a teacher. I didn’t want to be a teacher. I wanted to be different from everybody else, so I fought it, you know? Then I lived in Spain, and I was helping kids learn English and I liked it. I helped them to learn English, and I just found it to be very rewarding because you see immediate results. The population of our students are so appreciative.
Q: When did you start teaching?
JR: I started teaching for K-12. Two years in, I moved over to Elmont Memorial High School. So with the school district, it's been 34 years. And then for the past 10 years, I've been in this building.
Mrs. Anna Maria Maniscalchi: I started teaching students here in the district in 2002. When I came here to this country, I was adopted here. That was a difficult transition for me, and I wanted to help ease that for students.
Source by Kristen Schneider
ENL Teacher Ms. Roldan stands by her classroom where she has helped countless students throughout her career.
Q: What has been your favorite moment as a teacher?
JR: There's so many. I had a student and she was new to the school. She'd been in the country for maybe a year and she was very closed off. I gave this project where they had to write about their passage in different verb tenses, and they had to write about their life and their journey here. She couldn't say it, but she just let it all out. She was so proud of herself, and I learned so much about her. She said it felt so good to just let it all out.
AM: My students. That’s one thing that I’ll miss. My traveling, spending time and understanding them, but also having fun with them. There are always those who are receptive or those who are close-minded, but teaching them is always something I’ll treasure.
Q: What is something you would like to say to graduating students?
JR: You don't have to have it all figured out right now. It's okay. I hate the cliche 'it's a journey,' but it really is. You don't have to know right now, before you even start college, that this is the job you're going to have. It’s good to have ideas and goals, but it's okay if you take a different route; that’s normal, that's okay. If you told me when I was a senior that I was going to be a teacher, I'd be like 'oh please, no,' but I needed to find that pass myself. You have to do it on your own.
AM: You have to go along with change. You now have all these other avenues and you should be ready to take them.