Photo by Michelle Yang
by Michelle Yang
For math teacher Mrs. Nella Carravetta, “Every day is a special day at South.”
Mrs. Carravetta’s special days started in 2001. After a break from teaching at a different school, she applied for a position at South, a school district her children had attended. Since then, she has been teaching for 14 years—through “three different math programs,” she added with a laugh.
Math appeals to Mrs. Carravetta more so than any other subject, even more than Italian, which she spent a year teaching. “I love math because it is a subject I can be passionate about…I love how definitive some of the answers are and also how not so definitive some [can be], which necessitates thinking,” she said.
In conjunction with her love of math is her love of teaching students. “I love the students more than anything, [especially] the spark that goes off when I present a new concept,” said Mrs. Carravetta. She likes the idea that she is able to open up students’ minds. When Mrs. Carravetta sees that her students have enjoyed being in her class, when they smile and call to her in the hall—it makes her feel good. “I think that is really what I’ll take with me [when I leave South].”
Her decision to retire this year lies in her desire to leave while still going strong. “I wanted to leave feeling good about what I did, and I didn’t want to feel that I had nothing to give—I wanted to leave when I was at a high.”
Besides teaching, Mrs. Carravetta has also enjoyed the many events the school offered, from musicals to plays. “I love drama and theater,” she said. “I try to attend as many as I can.” Such outside events provide her the opportunity to “appreciate [students] outside of class,” allowing her to see another facet of her students. Mrs. Carravetta had the opportunity to be personally involved in one of the many extracurricular student shows this year: fashion show, which was “something nice to do right before I [left],” she said.
To the colleagues she is leaving, Mrs. Carravetta advises they “have an open mind, keep abreast of all that’s happening in your field, and keep on loving what you do, keep on loving your subject, and enjoy [the] students [at South].”
To students, Mrs. Carravetta “would like to see [them] not stretch themselves so thin with so many subjects and APs.” She believes students should be more selective in the courses they choose to take, maintain a balance, and ease the “incredible burden on themselves.” She also advises students to find a hobby, enjoy nature, study hard, but also try to enjoy this time of life.
After retirement, she plans to “do the things [she] wants to do,” like traveling. “I’m a very outdoorsy kind of person,” she said. “[The] first big trip I’d like to take is to a national park.” Even with all her travel plans, more important are her relations: old friends, her family in Italy, and her aging mother. “I want to spend time with the people I love, the time we don’t have when we are so busy working,” said Mrs. Carravetta. From her first day to her fourteenth year, Mrs. Carravetta’s special days have been many, but they are far from being over.