New English teacher focuses on the ‘positive’


First-year English teacher Ms. SanAntonio is choosing to focus on the positives this year. (Photo by Nick Gentes)

Nikolai Gentes, Staff

The oddities and misfortunes of the past year and a half are not topics many wish to keep perseverating on. For many, the misery wrought by Covid-19 has forced both academic and life goals to take a backseat. 

Fortunately, these factors haven’t stopped first-year English teacher Ms. SanAntonio from forging ahead with her life’s goal.

She has possessed the dream being an educator since she was a young girl.

“I always wanted to be a teacher,” said Ms. SanAntonio. “When I was in first grade, I loved making little books for my brother. They were leveled out, so he could learn how to read. I always kind of knew that I wanted to teach.”

After graduating college with a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of New Hampshire, and a master’s degree in secondary education from Southern New Hampshire University, Ms. SanAntonio was poised to turn her childhood dreams into present realities. 

And then Covid happened.

For others, a pandemic so sudden and destructive would put career goals, like Ms. SanAntonio’s, on hold. Yet she soldiered on, taking comfort in her assurance that she would reach her life’s goal.

“I knew that getting into [teaching] and getting my foot in the door, starting now, it’s going to be something that I’m going to continue doing until I retire,” she said. “Just having that ability to say that I’m going to be doing something that I love for the rest of my life was huge.”

Though Ms. SanAntonio’s optimism did propel her through tough times, she’ll be the first to admit that adjusting to a Covid-affected environment has not been easy.                                      

“Even though we are back in person, I’m constantly having students who are absent because of Covid-related reasons,” she said. “So I feel like I still need to make everything available online so students can access it. That’s one thing I didn’t really expect. I thought it would be just a normal year, but it really isn’t.”

However, Ms. SanAntonio chooses to focus on the positives.

“I am having such a wonderful time here,” she said. “[PA] is such an awesome community of administration, other teachers and, obviously, students. It’s a very positive environment.”

Fostering an environment of collaborative learning, Ms. SanAntonio has come to appreciate both the knowledge her students can draw from her, as well as what they learn from each other.

“I love it when students have those ‘aha’ moments,” she said. “I love having big class discussions where we can all share these ideas because, at the end of the day, they might not necessarily learn the most from me, they could be learning the most from each other. I learn things from the students as well.” 

With unwavering ambitions and a strong passion for her work, Ms. SanAntonio’s dedication during tough times is nothing short of inspirational. It stands as a lesson to all of us that no matter the circumstances, the achievement of one’s dreams is always possible.