As you may have read, Redding’s Teacher of the Year, Matt Farina, was recently celebrated at a dinner in Hartford. We are so glad that he was able to take a little time to talk about his career at RES, his academic foundations and why he loves what he does. We also got him to share a few fun facts about himself — be sure to share with your favorite RES student and see if they can guess his favorite pizza topping! Here he is, in his own words.
“Teaching is all about the students. What we do, why we do it, and how we do it, is all in the best of interest of the students in our class.
The best days at RES are those in which students have ‘aha moments.’ They’re building schema and making interdisciplinary connections. No day is the same as any other when working with students. Every day is rewarding and the students’ personalities and experiences provide opportunities for discourse, insight, and humor.
“So much of what we do has educators is a collaborative effort. We work together to establish a culture of excellence for ourselves and our students. RES, and our entire ER9 community, is an environment of collegiality. I appreciate the support I have been given from my colleagues over the years!
Mr. Farina wrote a wonderful essay in response on his teaching philosophy in response to his nomination for Teacher of the Year, and his closing paragraph should tell parents and students alike all they need to know about this amazing educator we are fortunate to have at RES:
“Teaching is hard. So why do we do it? Why do I teach? I teach for the nonverbal student who independently approaches me to say ‘Good morning’ and addresses me by name. I teach to witness the struggling reader develop a text-supported interpretation of a book. I teach the gifted writer who manipulates language to craft an ending to their narrative. I teach the behavior child, the one who travels from grade to grade with THAT reputation. I teach to see them defy the naysayers and lead their classmates with self-confidence and self-worth. I teach to celebrate the math student who finally understands the relationship between multiplication and division. I teach to motivate. I teach to create lifelong learners. I teach children to be kind and respectful. I teach because I care. I teach because it’s in my soul.”
Fun Facts About Mr. Farina!
We know RES is full of dedicated, highly qualified educators and staff members, and we love the chance to get to know these special folks better. Here’s some fun facts!
- In 2002 and 2003, Mr. Farina participated in the Walt Disney World College Program, where he spent a little over a semester in the happiest place on earth! While he was there, he was a cast member for the Tower of Terror attraction at Disney Hollywood Studios.
- Mr. Farina has been an extra in some television shows and was even an actor in some educational videos when he was younger. He has been involved in school and community theater since high school, and theater and performing remains his passion. While he still performs himself, he also began choreographing in 2007 and directing in 2015.
- He played soccer from early childhood until high school!
We asked and Mr. Farina answered…
Favorite pizza topping – I’ll eat and enjoy any type of pizza, but just a classic slice of cheese is my FAVORITE!
Favorite candy – Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup
Favorite subject when you were in 4th grade – History/social studies has always been my favorite subject. I love learning about my world!
Favorite YA or picture book – I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan!
Super power you’d pick if you could have one – Fly, so I could travel and explore the world more easily!
Best place to read a good book – in bed or on the beach
Dream playlist – I like all genres of music, so it’d be an eclectic mix of pop, rock, country, rap, Motown, show-tunes, Disney, R&B
Favorite TV show – Survivor (I’ve applied to be on the show more times than I could remember.)
Favorite movie – The Goonies