Tampa Prep Faculty
Mrs. Stephanie Cardillo
All my early jobs paved the way to the career in the classroom that I have loved for over 20 years. My first job was to teach dance to would be ballerinas in pink tights and slippers, reveling in their adorably pointed toes and careful, curved arms. Later, at the YMCA, I coaxed shaking little fish from the side of the pool, to a death clasp around my neck, to finally, finally their first moments of independent swimming euphoria. I was a camp counselor and lifeguard, braiding hair, getting trounced at four-square by chits half my age, logging endless hours counting heads in the water. I loved every bit of it. It seems obvious then, that I would turn to teaching as a career; it felt as natural as breathing. In deciding to be an English Education major, I was allowed to read books all day: my idea of nirvana.
Teaching literature allows me to teach practical skills, namely, how to read critically and how to write capably. Most importantly, though, literature allows students to consider other lives and other experiences, and in assessing characters' choices, make some decisions on how to live their own lives. It is a great privilege that I am there to guide them through this process. My favorite part of being a teacher is much the same as those summer jobs of long ago: listening to individuals who are trying to navigate the tricky trek to adulthood, individuals who need to be heard. I know that far beyond the interpretative ending of Catcher in the Rye, my students will remember, I hope, that I cared for them, that I found much to admire in them, and that I listened.