PC SCE Faculty Feature: 12 Questions with Kristin Cassarino
As an instructor in PC SCE’s Teacher Certification Program, Kristin Cassarino has a unique appreciation for the experience of being a continuing education student; she used to be one, right here at PC SCE, where she herself earned her teaching certification in English and Social Studies. The Rhode Island native also earned her Master’s in Modern European History from PC.
Now, the student has quite literally become the teacher.
Cassarino is a high school Social Studies teacher and Department Coordinator at William M. Davies Jr. Career and Technical High School in Lincoln, RI. She’s also been a member of the SCE faculty since 2012, where she teaches Educational Psychology. (You can register now to take her course online this summer).In this first installment of our “12 Questions with SCE” Faculty Feature profiles, learn more about Cassarino, including how her favorite movie also relates to her most memorable career moment, the hidden surprise she’s left for future PC students in the library, and even a quirky karaoke challenge…
1.The last thing I read was:
All But My Life by Gerda Weissmann Klein. I read this every spring just before teaching my ninth graders about WWII and the stages of genocide. It helps remind me of the importance of sharing primary source accounts with the next generation so that they may learn lifelong lessons from the past.
2.Number one on my bucket list is:
To travel the world for an extended period of time. I love to travel!
3.My favorite movie is:
Mr. Holland’s Opus, because it portrays the rawness of being a teacher and the ever-present and evolving quest of achieving “success.” Against the backdrop of some of history’s most memorable moments, Mr. Holland realizes that his true success as a teacher is sharing his passion with his students and watching them grow into confident young adults.
4.If I wasn’t teaching or working in my chosen field, I would be:
An Italian Renaissance art museum curator or an Interior Designer.
5.The most memorable moment in my career is:
Mentoring one of my most challenging students over the course of four years of high school. Watching him cross the stage at graduation and become the first member of his family to earn a high school diploma was one of my proudest moments as an educator.
6.The scariest thing I’ve ever done is:
Agree to go on a blind date. Luckily, it worked out rather well. He is now my husband!
7.My iTunes account (or CD rack) is mostly filled with:
Right now, John Legend and Alicia Keys are getting a lot of playtime. But, I have a diverse collection of music.
8.My favorite spot on campus is:
Any alcove on the top floor of the library. It brings me back to my days as a grad student in the History Department at PC. I smile just thinking about the hours of writing and reading I did in those corners. How I long for the days when I spent 5 hours in the library then attended class in Harkins called The Black Death with the infamous and intoxicating scholar Dr. Donna McCaffrey. My passion for education has its roots in the library and in the classrooms of my graduate program at PC. I think there may be some hidden notes I left for future students still lingering in the books on the library’s top floor.
9.If I had to choose just one, I’d choose: dog, cat, or goldfish?
A dog. No question.
10.People would be surprised to know that:
Embarrassingly enough, I love 90s music. I can sing you anything from hip hop to Dave Matthews Band. Any requests?
11.What do you like most about teaching adult students?
I love the diversity they bring to the classroom and to the field of education. Their wide range of experiences adds depth and a unique perspective to 21st century teaching pedagogy.
12.Do you feel you’ve learned anything from your students in return?
Of course! Every semester I learn what passion and grit look like. Many of my students are returning to school to pursue a second career in a totally new field. As I have seen, this decision doesn’t come lightly. I am inspired by the courage and commitment that these students have to follow their passion. Many do this while balancing their roles as parents, students, and providers. They continuously remind me of the true sense of calling we all had to become educators.