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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Amid teacher exodus, Cape Cod’s new educator is thrilled with his job


It’s only been a few weeks into the new school year, but Ciara Gregory said it was the “best work week” of her life. It’s her first year as a teacher. It took her six years to attend college and work full-time to reach her goals.

Gregory teaches art at Monomoy Regional High School in Harwich and has already fallen in love with her work and her students.

“Kids are great,” she said. they try hard. they are funny they are great ”

For Alexandra “Allie” Howell, teaching has always been on the horizon.

“I’ve always wanted to be a teacher since I was five years old. Elementary school was always fun,” Howell said.

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Howell, 24, is in her first year of teaching full-time third grade at Chatham Elementary School.

600,000 teachers have left their jobs since the start of the pandemic

After working as a taxpayer for 10 years, Joe Salgado is in his first year of teaching at the Barnstable Intermediate School public school.

“I love interacting with students,” he said.

These enthusiastic new teachers 600,000 teachers retire nationwide since the pandemic began in 2020, from 10.6 million to 10 million, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor StatisticsAccording to one survey, about 90% of teachers cite COVID or severe burnout as a reason. National Education Association Investigation.

However, Cape has new and veteran teachers who see teaching as their only profession. They say they understand why others have left, especially because of the strain of online education during the pandemic, but they are determined to stay.

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Harwich resident Gregory, 29, has continued to follow his path during the pandemic, working part-time for four years at Cape Cod Community College before completing a degree in art education from Bridgewater State University last year. work.

“Bridgewater teaches you how to teach,” she said, so she felt ready for her first job.

During her ill-fated days at Hadham Killingworth High School in Connecticut, she never envisioned herself becoming a teacher, she says. “He saw me.”

Providing Mentors to New Teachers

This was the first time she felt accepted for who she was.

Work on behavior analysis of children with autism later convinced Gregory that she wanted to become a teacher. She currently teaches painting, drawing and mixed her media from 8th grade to her 12th grade.

Gregory says Monomoy High School is “a beautiful mixed culture that is celebrated and respected.”

Cape Cod Public Schools The school year is staffed, but there are still vacancies

She was also impressed with the orientation of new teachers and the assignment of mentor Amanda Schuurmann, a veteran teacher who can help her with any questions. she said.

Gregory also recognizes that teaching methods have changed to focus on preparing students for how they should live in today’s world and that they must be able to perform. increase. She said she hopes more people become teachers if she loves being with children.

“They can teach about whatever they want,” she said.

find community in a new workplace

Howell, 24, has done all she can with children as a camp counselor, babysitter, babysitter, tutor, and last year as a substitute teacher for many grades in the Monomoi School System.

“The main thing is that I can be their biggest supporter both academically and in (social) relationships,” she said.

After spending all day with the same students from breakfast to after school, she helps out with the after school club so she can spend time with other grades. She said she liked the strong sense of community she already feels at Chatham Elementary. She also has a mentor. Margaret, a veteran 3rd grade teacher, she is Turko. She can keep in touch from the classroom door.

Howell creates vibrant and welcoming classrooms and spends hours over the summer teaching the letters of the alphabet, special quotes, daily schedules, and many other educational tools in both print and cursive to third graders. Created for subjects. She created a “calm corner” for students when they needed a break.

“I want to be in a safe and engaging classroom,” she said.

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Howell holds a bachelor’s degree from St. Joseph’s College in Philadelphia and is qualified in elementary education in both Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. She already has a master’s degree in special education and plans to teach in an inclusive classroom.

Howell said she was grateful her parents decided to retire to the Cape. I know.

From Accounting to Classroom

Salgado’s interaction with his wife’s students at Bourne convinced him to change careers and pursue teaching. He is now capitalizing on his professional background as a 7th grade math teacher. Last year, he taught part-time at a Catholic middle school in Attleboro.

To obtain provisional certification in the state’s public schools, he had to take the Massachusetts Teacher’s Licensure Examination (MTEL) in language subjects and math concentration. Accreditation lasts for five years, after which all teachers must complete the required master’s degree.

more: Cape Educational Institutions Awarded $1 Million Workforce Development Grants

Salgado and all Barnstable teachers attended a three-day orientation before school started. This orientation included his six educators who were completely new to teaching.

“I’m very excited,” Salgado said at orientation. “I’ve never worked with her ESL[student]. It’s a big change.”

He said the main reason he chose to teach middle school was because it’s a level that is often not actively talked about.

“I could be someone who could turn it around for them. I want them to love learning and math,” Salgado said.

He brings other talents to his teaching as well. At Attleboro, he sang, played the piano, and performed magic tricks for his students.

With 16 years of teaching experience, Lauren Gonnella is teaching Kindergarten at a school in Barnstable this year after spending 10 years at Cape Cod Academy. She lives in Barnstable with her husband Chris and her four children.

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“Transferring to public school is a big change,” she said. “I’m excited to learn and grow. It’s time for a change.”

Hyannis West Elementary’s new classrooms have full-time assistants and support staff to support truly active kindergarteners.

“I like creating a safe and happy environment,” she said.

Parenting is a plus for this teacher

Kim Kolaczyk, who lives in West Dennis, is a new math teacher at Barnstable High School, first in Worcester and the past two years at Monomoy High School, a 20 year veteran teacher. As a single mother, she needed to raise children for her 3-year-old son Xander, so she began considering her various career options.

“I love teaching so much. I didn’t want to leave,” she said.

Having the opportunity to teach geometry and algebra to 10th and 11th graders at Barnstable High School also solved my parenting needs. The school has a preschool program in the same building where students gain hands-on experience.

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“Without it, I wouldn’t be able to teach,” Kolaczyk said.

Gonnella recognizes that COVID is a difficult time even for teachers to post, and understands why some have quit due to mental health.

But of those she has continued to teach, she said: We hope our work brings positive change. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

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