Hi, my name is Dominic Santora, and I go by Dom. I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. I graduated from Syracuse University in 2018, where I was part of the rowing team. Rowing allowed me to travel the world. I was fortunate to be part of the Men’s U23 National Rowing team that allowed me to race in Bulgaria in 2017. Rowing also took me to London, where I raced at the Royal Henley Regatta in 2018.
Upon graduation, I was a substitute teacher for a few months. My longest assignment was a two-week term at Euclid High School. This experience was impactful for my life direction. I was fortunate to be hired as a Job Developer at Catholic Charities-Migration and Refugee Services, where I still work currently. When I am not working or at school, I enjoy running and rowing. I am an Assistant Rowing Coach at Saint Ignatius High School, and I hope to continue coaching when I become a Secondary Social Studies teacher. This semester I am also very busy planning my wedding for next summer.
I need guidance and support to take intellectual and creative risks. A bad habit I am working on is being okay not getting directions. At times, I am very hesitant when taking risks at school or work because I am terrified of making mistakes. I appreciate teachers that lay assignments out and are willing to listen to the progress of assigned work. I also admire hearing the trials and tribulations of professors/mentors/managers. Knowing that they were in similar situations and how they overcame them gives me insight and encouragement.
In my personal time, I am reading American Sniper by Chris Kyle and Surprise, Vanish, and Kill by Annie Jacobsen. I have always been fascinated with military history and aspects of history that are not often talked about, such as The Culper Spy Ring during the Revolutionary War. Throughout my program, there have been two assigned readings that have struck a chord with me. One being, Disciplinary Literacy Versus Doing School, written by Mark Windschitl and can be found in the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy,63(1), 7-13. doi:10.1002/jaal.964 (Windschitl, M. (2019). What I enjoyed most about the article is when Weindschitl discusses doing school. On page 8, Windschitl explains how doing school is a “shallow learning engagement” where teachers almost feed students answers without engaging them in the thought process. This is interesting to me because as a future history/social studies teacher, there are many opportunities for critical thinking. Especially nowadays with the current political climate–instead of telling students what they should learn, I think it is important to actively involve the students as critical thinkers.
Another impactful reading was Paulo Freire’s (2013/1972): The banking concept of education, found in A. S. Canestrari & B. A. Marlowe (Eds.), Education foundations: An anthology of critical readings (3rd ed., pp. 103-115). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Friere wants us as educators to find a voice and a place in the world through education. The idea of empowering will hopefully be the very essence of my teaching career.
Questions: What was your biggest challenge as a new educator? What is the key to cultivating a classroom environment that is accepting of all opinions?