Written by Betsy Abraham, firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday, 26 June 2014 00:00
On June 25, elementary school teachers in Hicksville will say goodbye to their students for the last time. But for Mary Pisanti, it’ll be the last time she ever says goodbye to a class. Pisanti, a second grade teacher at Woodland School, retires this year after teaching for the past 36 years.
“I’ve had a ball. There are so many things I’m going to miss," says Pisanti.
Over the 20 years she’s been in the district, Pisanti has taught at almost all of the elementary schools. She got her start at Old Country Road School in 1983, went on to East Street from 1984 to 1993, spent a year at Dutch Lane and then came to Woodland, where she’s been since 1994.
Pisanti has taught kindergarten through fourth grade, but most of her time has been spent in the second grade classroom. She’s known for having excellent lessons plans (especially in math), but Pisanti says that more than that, she hopes students walk away with a better sense of who they are and what they can do.
“I hope they remember what they have in them and to always give it their all. And that they can do whatever they want if they set their minds to it, and that they’re special,” says Pisanti.
Pisanti’s passion for teaching originated at a young age. Her mom was a teacher and when Pisanti was a first grade student at Our Lady of the Snows School, her teacher’s warm nature left a lasting impression.
“She was just a warm loving person and I wanted to emulate that. I wanted to grow up and do the same things she did,” says Pisanti. “At the time parochial school nuns were kind of strict, but I was one of the fortunate people who had a very positive experience.”
Pisanti has been able to leave countless other students with their own positive experience. Students that have come through her classroom doors have enjoyed activities like putting on plays to celebrate the anniversary of the Statue of Liberty, writing Valentines to veterans, raising money to buy crutches for children in Africa and visiting the elderly in nursing homes. One class also put together a Thanksgiving book called “Mr. Turkey Mr. Turkey What Did You See” that was published by the company Nationwide Learning.
She says she loves teaching elementary school age children because of their innocence.
“I’m going to miss those daily reminders of innocence and how to enjoy life,” Pisanti says. “I love their energy. Everything is new and exciting to them. I’ve learned so much from them and they don’t even know it.”
But all good things must come to an end. Pisanti says she decided to retire to spend more time with her husband, and the couple plan to spend more time traveling, going to the city for Broadway shows, bicycling and visiting botanical gardens. And though she’s looking forward to retired life, she says she’ll miss the people who have supported her the last 36 years.
“I’ve been really fortunate to work with amazing people. They’ve been very supportive,” says Pisanti. “Teachers can’t do what they do without the parents and PTA being behind them. And I’ve worked with such amazing creative, innovative teachers.”
And the feeling’s mutual.
“She’s very dedicated to her profession and has touched the lives of so many students and has had such an impact on their academic success,” said Woodland School principal Mary Hance. “She works hard to make sure all her students are doing well and has been an excellent teacher.”
“She was an above and beyond teacher. She used to tutor kids after school on her own time, she was so generous," said Woodland School PTA President Jean Schwapol. "She’s someone you want your kid to have as a teacher. She was wonderful.”