Teacher Feature – Ginette Rossi
I have never felt such a strong sense of belonging than I do as a member of Arizona School for the Arts (ASA). Before working here, I would often find myself in search of a place where I was accepted regardless of what stereotype I fit into and where my creativity was appreciated and cultivated. Since moving from New Jersey with my husband Tommy, in 2005, it has been such a struggle, and when I reflect, I think it always was. That is until I found ASA. I vividly remember walking onto campus the day I interviewed for the 7th grade social studies position; kids playing instruments, conversations that included eye contact, singing and reading, and all in the heart of downtown. A month later, it turned out that the 5th grade English position was going to be available and that ultimately solidified the move for me. I had been a reading specialist for years at this point, and even studied as a Mason-scholar within the Orton Gillingham program. Language Arts is my passion and now I was not only going to work at my dream school, but also teach my favorite subject!
I will also admit that being at ASA is not only for me. I have four children, TJ (14), Madison (13), Kendall (10), and Giada (9), three attending ASA, and next year the last one will join! They are truly a product of being a teacher’s child and have had books in their faces before they could sit up straight. I tend to think that they even heard me teaching while in utero! Needless to say, my husband and I are nothing short of amazed with how rich their education is because of ASA. The teachers are talented, masters of knowledge, and through each year that has passed, I have seen more than just academic growth. My children have evolved into passionate people who value their lives and invest in themselves as lifelong learners. This is a genuine result of being a part of the ASA culture.
At this point, I am in my eighteenth year of teaching and have more love for what I do being at ASA than I ever have. I went to school for teaching and graduated from Seton Hall University with a double bachelors: BAS and Special Education with a minor in music. My education was extensive and prepared me with experiences, accountability, and a program designed at producing a teacher in every sense of the word. I was afforded opportunities to be in the classroom since freshman year and ended with a job in a parochial school before I even graduated. Currently, I am pursuing a Masters in English Education at ASU and will be interning with the Central Arizona Writing Project this summer. This program also affords me the opportunity to enter into the doctorate program for instruction and curriculum. I am a lifelong learner like my students!
As exhausting as the schedule is of raising four kids, teaching full time, acting as a team leader and mentor at ASA, and attending school, being in the classroom as a student is where I find the most purpose for my life. Not only does it provide inspiration and more knowledge to facilitate better learning for my students, it serves to advance my career as a dedicated leader. This year in particular means a lot for me because I have transitioned from 5th grade to 6th with the same students. Being with these students for a second year now, there is a special bond between us and I feel privileged to be one of their teachers. The strong community that ASA has provided my family with has never been more evident than last year when I experienced the tragic loss of my dear father. He was a lifelong musician and always said that he wished he had a place like ASA growing up and he was so envious of the kids that were able to attend this place. He would be even more impressed with how my students from last year and now this year, serve as a source of healing and literally turned my heartache into hope each day that I get to be in the classroom with them. These young leaders have strengthened and enriched my life, awakening me to how special the time we have on this earth is and that it should be lived to the fullest each day.