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Introducing Jennifer Castellano, Kindergarten teacher at Forestdale!

What inspired you to be a teacher?

For a long time, I thought I wanted to be a counselor. However, one summer I started working at a preschool program and I immediately fell in love with it. Getting to witness that moment when the lightbulb goes off and something starts to click is incredible! We live in a world where there is so much negativity thrown at us from every direction. Getting to work with kids helps change your perspective and I knew that it was something I wanted to do forever.

Why did you choose Sandwich for this stage of your professional journey?

Last year when completing my Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education, I needed to do my student teaching. I sent out my information to a ton of schools and Mr. Dintino was the only one who took the time to respond and get to know me. He brought me to Forestdale and I was able to work with two incredible teachers (Karin Wilkins in Kindergarten & Melanie Heller in 1st Grade) during the Fall of 2017. I immediately knew it was somewhere I wanted to be. The staff at Forestdale was so welcoming and kind. Even before I was officially an employee, everyone was so helpful and I felt at home there. This year I really lucked out in getting a job in Kindergarten here. There really is no where else I wanted to be!

Can you share a fond memory of yourself as a student at the same grade level you now teach?!

I think a funny and sweet memory would be that while on the tire swing at recess, my best friend accidently knocked my loose tooth out. It got lost in the sand and I was so upset thinking the tooth fairy wouldn’t come! My Kindergarten teacher wrote a note for me to put under my pillow to help ease my anxiety. And of course…the tooth fairy came after all! It is a fond memory because my teacher went above and beyond her duties to make sure I was happy and my best friend from Kindergarten is still my best friend today.

What is the most important thing you have learned about teaching so far? About learning?

I think the most important thing I have learned about teaching is that every single day is a new day. One day can be really stressful and you may feel like you are just totally failing. Then you come in the next day and the kids make you feel like you are the most amazing person in the world. I have learned things aren’t always as bad as we envision them to be and that anything is possible if you keep trying. I’ve also learned that every kid learns in a completely different way. While this can be a daunting task for a teacher, it also gives me the opportunity to learn a new way to do something which I think helps keep things exciting.

What is your favorite type of technology in or out of the classroom?

I use Class Dojo in my classroom. It is a way to monitor and help reward positive behavior. However, what I love most about it is the connection it gives parents and families to our classroom. Each day I post pictures and videos during different activities we engage in. This gives families a look into our day. I think it is a great way to start a conversation with your kids at home. If parents know what is happening in the classroom because they have seen it, they can talk to their kids about it. The students also really like to look at it when they get home with their parents and I can communicate with families through the App as well.

What hobbies do you enjoy outside of school?

I am an avid reader. My bookshelves are currently overflowing with books! I also really love just spending time with my family and friends. I’ve also become interested in cooking recently. Being born and raised on the Cape, I also love going to the beach.. even in the off season.

What would you like our community to know about teachers in the Sandwich schools?

I think people should know that teachers in the Sandwich schools are all here because we love what we do. In the last year and a half, I have learned so much from the teachers in Sandwich. They inspire me to do better and be better each day and I always know that I have a support system when I need it, which is huge. The teachers in Sandwich are concerned first and foremost with the needs of each child and we are always striving to improve ourselves to be the best teachers we can be for these kids.