'10-'11 N.C. Teacher of the Year Offers Encouraging Words to Catawba's Prospective Teachers
February 24, 2011
"Don't be afraid about your choice to become a teacher," Jennifer Facciolini, the 2010-2011 AT&T N.C. Teacher of the Year, told Catawba College's prospective teachers during a Feb. 24 visit to campus. "There will always be jobs for great teachers. Don't be afraid of the unknown in education."
However, even as she encouraged those gathered in Tom Smith Auditorium, Facciolini cautioned them to ask themselves why they were making this career choice, especially in a time of school cutbacks, subject area cancellations, teacher layoffs and unemployment, and frozen salaries. "Teachers choose to teach with their hearts, not their pocketbooks," she said, noting, "You can't go into this and be good, you've got to go into it and be phenomenal!"
Facciolini, a social studies teacher at Midway High School in Sampson County, asked the prospective teachers to cite some characteristics of a great teacher. Words that were volunteered included positive, passionate, patient, inspirational, knowledgeable, cool, encouraging, caring, high expectations and humorous.
She then asked the students to make a check beside the words that described them. "We want to be motivators," she admonished, "not enablers."
Facciolini cited some key attributes that this generation of prospective teachers shares. These include a familiarity with working in teams. "You come with the mindset of a team. When you interview at a prospective school, you'll be interviewed by a team and you were raised with a team approach. Think back to the Ninja Turtles – a single Ninja Turtle does not save the world."
She cited this generation's ability to multi-task as an attribute, as well as their ability to "spot fakeness a mile away." "You as real-deal teachers will attract kids to you." She also noted the generation's propensity to give back through community service. "Your generation gives more community service time than any generation before," she said.
As she closed her remarks, the National Board Certified Facciolini said, "Our future is waiting on you. In no other profession can you touch every other career choice like you can as a teacher."