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Andy Nicoletti

Fourth-Grade Lead Teacher
26 years teaching, 9 at Country Day

What do you like about teaching?

You don’t get into teaching if you don’t love working with kids. Seeing them learn something new or figure out something that has challenged them is highly rewarding. And to truly be influential as a teacher, I think you have to get to know them as more than your students. You have to take time to learn about their hobbies and interests, what’s on their minds, and even listen to Taylor Swift songs since that’s what most of my girls are talking about right now. I also coach for the Varsity Football team. So, I get to see my students as little kids and then reconnect later when they’re young men on their way out and turning into amazing adults. Country Day is truly an amazing place to share my love of teaching. It’s a combination of a small town meets small college.
It’s a friendly and safe place to learn and be yourself and evolve into the person you’re going to be. I feel like I’ve evolved into a better teacher because of the culture that is cultivated here.

How are you a lifelong learner?

I think collaboration is one of the most important tools to help people grow as learners. My teaching has evolved through conversations with my fellow teachers. By learning how someone else approaches a lesson or strategies for classroom management, I get inspired. I may not take the idea as is. I often put my own spin, my own style on it, but it’s helping me to stay fresh and keep my students engaged.  I also like to use a balanced amount of technology in the classroom. By fourth grade, we’re preparing students for the iPads they’ll be using in Middle School. I like exploring how to incorporate apps into the lesson so that the kids feel like they’re having fun, but they are still learning. But you also have to recognize that some kids do better with paper and pencil. Others learn best with manipulatives, or they are oral listeners. Every child’s learning path is different. I think the more you play around with delivery methods, the more techniques you use, you’re going to find what works for each student.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started teaching?

Question everything. Why am I teaching this? Why am I doing it this way? I think that’s the way you learn. You’re doing yourself and your students a disservice if you deliver a lesson the way you were told to by someone else or just because you’ve always done it that way. You really become a great teacher and a great learner by asking questions. That’s what I strive to teach my kids. Question, question, question, and you’ll keep evolving.