Teacher doing cartwheels over new job

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An educator was practically doing back-flips when she landed her first full-time teaching job at a brand spanking new school.

Not only can Grade 2 teacher Laine Perizzolo do back-flips, she can teach her students at St. Francis of Assisi Academy in Davisburg to do them as well.

Perizzolo is also a coach at Mountain Shadows Gymnastics Club.

“They are pretty similar,” Perizzolo said of teaching and coaching gymnastics. “There is that expectation piece of what I expect from my athletes and students. There is also the motivation piece. Planning what makes them tick to get them to go further — and then watching them get that ‘aha’ moment.”

Perizzolo is plenty motivated as she was setting up her classroom on Monday, preparing to greet her students for the first day of school at St. Francis on Aug. 30.

She can hardly wait.

“Grade 2 is such a great age,” Perizzolo said. “They are so cute, they still want to come and learn and soak in all that information you want to give them. I think it is a really important age because they are still developing those fundamental learning blocks that they need to move on.”

She’s going to be much like her students — she won’t get much sleep the night before the first day of school ever at St. Francis.

“I’m not sleeping now,” Perizzolo said with a laugh. “The first thing I will do is welcome them at the door, make them feel safe, make them feel wanted so they can come in just rarin’ to go.

“For me, it’s about having them ready to go and ready to do things on that first day. Getting them into learning.”

Part of that learning is developing a classroom, not just a room.

“Getting the classroom organization and making the students part of that building process,” she explained.

She applied in June with hopes of getting what she sees an ideal fit for her.

“This is a new school and it is very exciting and the elementary grades are where I wanted to be,” Perizzolo said. “I did a temporary job at Good Shepherd and I had another temporary job at Holy Spirit Academy.”

This is her first full-time position and Perizzolo will know a lot of familiar faces despite being a rookie.

“A lot of the teachers came over from Good Shepherd and (the staff there) were wonderful, positive people,” she said. “Plus coming into something so new, we can create the type of school atmosphere we want it to be.”

Being a teacher means you are also a student — continuing to learn the important trade. Her mentors at Holy Spirit Academy included Paula Hamilton and team leader Catherine Mills.

A major mentor at Good Shepherd was Renee Furedy, who made the move to St. Francis.

“She is very organized and so is Diana (St. Francis principal Diana Atkinson) and she (Furedy) told me to emphasize my organization skills during my interview… When I got the job, I cried I was so happy,” Perizzolo said.

bcampbell@okotoks.greatwest.ca

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