Ms. Carla Ritzman
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Best to Reach: 8 until 4
My Teaching Biography
Ever since I was a little girl, I always knew that I wanted to be an elementary school teacher. As an only child, I often had to play alone and be creative and imaginative on what I would do to fill up my spare time. I still laugh about how I use to drive my parents crazy because I always wanted one of them to play school with me. I always looked forward to having friends over to play school but sometimes it was hard to be the student rather than the teacher. Everyone fought over who would play the teacher. My mom and I use to visit the teacher store (as I called it) and I was like a child in a candy store. My parents always supported me in everything I did and encouraged me every step of the way. As I became older, I saw my friends’ waiver on their designated career choices but I always stood firm on my decision to become a teacher. Those defining moments in my basement pretending to play school carved out a lifelong dream for me.
I come from an extremely close-knit Italian family where Catholic values and beliefs are regarded with great importance. I was very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to learn all of my basic education at Saint Margaret Mary Grade School in Milwaukee before I moved onto Pius XI for high school. This was a very special choice because both my parents attended Pius XI and it was an honor to carry on this tradition. Catholic education was very important to my parents and I look back feeling very fortunate that these wonderful learning opportunities were provided for me. These wonderful school experiences made me the person that I am today and gave me the faith to carry out my childhood dream of being a teacher.
When deciding on a college to attend, it was very important to find one that had an excellent teaching program. After touring the campus, I decided on Winona State University in Winona, Minnesota. What a beautiful campus right along the Mississippi River! I was assigned an advisor from the special education department by mistake but this actually became a blessing in disguise. I broadened my horizons and graduated in December of 1999 with a double major in Elementary Education and Special Education. I credit Frank Rocco, my advisor, for encouraging me to take the plunge and pursue a double major. I will be forever grateful to him for the best teaching advice that I have ever received. I was allowed three different field experiences in a variety of elementary grades. Once finishing the teaching program, I also completed three different student teaching experiences: fourth grade elementary room, sixth grade special education resource room, and middle school social studies classroom. What an experience with a lot of different teaching opportunities and ideas which are used in my classroom today. While actively searching for jobs, I stayed in Winona until June of 2000 where I spent six months as a substitute teacher. This allowed me a chance to get a feel for a variety of different grades and levels. Although I was offered a job at the Winona Middle School, I decided to move back home where my family was located.
When applying for jobs, I knew that I wanted to teach in the Catholic School setting that I was brought up in. I applied for three openings in the Milwaukee area and actually interviewed for two of them. Sister Rosemary, then principal, allowed me to visit for the day and actually required me to teach a math lesson on measurement. I remember being nervous but I tried my best and she was very impressed. I immediately fell in love with Saint Charles because it reminded me of my own childhood growing up. I knew that this was an environment where I would be allowed to successfully thrive and grow as a first year teacher. I loved the idea that there were a number of veteran teachers who could point me in the right direction and they were all kind enough to take me in under their watchful eyes. Although this was my first teaching job out of college, I count my blessings everyday for such a wonderful opportunity. This job has shaped the teacher that I have become and I will forever be grateful.
I have just begun my tenth year of teaching fifth grade and living out that childhood dream that began in my parents’ basement. Each class of students teaches me new things on a regular basis and I love every minute of it. Some days are definitely more challenging than others but I would not have it any other way. All children are capable of achieving their goals and dreams. I definitely have achieved one of mine.