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PREPpeople: Rachel Salinger
Posted 01/10/2019 04:00PM

One in an occasional series of snapshots spotlighting the people of St. John’s Prep

Rachel SalingerHOMETOWN: Redding, Conn.

EDUCATION: MAT, Sacred Heart University; B.A. English, University of Connecticut; Diploma, Immaculate High School (Danbury, Conn.)

YEARS AT ST. JOHN’S: 4 (previously at Hopkinton High)

SUBJECT: English

FUN FACT: “My sister, Rebecca, and I always make a goal for how many books we can read in a year. In 2018, our goal was 100. Rebecca did it. She’s got to 105 before the New Year. I was at 93. We’re super competitive and, believe it or not, we were both voted ‘most competitive’ in high school. I hate that she’s been winning, but I don’t count the books I teach in class, so I have the moral advantage.”

DESCRIBE A TEACHER WHO INSPIRED YOU GROWING UP: “I think I have to give you more than one. My third grade teacher, Mrs. Wilcox, was the first teacher I remember who loved class and loved school. We read Charlotte’s Web and it ripped my third grade heart out, but she was so nice and such a good teacher. Also, my high school English teacher, Mrs. Arsenault. She was so hard, but so good. She made me love reading and talking about books. There were days I was really frustrated with her, but afterwards, I would concede to myself that she was a really good teacher.”

WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO TEACH FOR A LIVING?: “I can’t remember not wanting to be a teacher. We had this day in second grade called 2020 Day, where we were asked to envision what we’d be doing in the year 2020. Of course, I was adamant I’d be a teacher. I used to ‘play school’ as a kid, not house. I can’t remember not wanting to do this.”

WHAT EXPERIENCE OUTSIDE OF ST. JOHN’S INFORMS YOUR WORK WITH STUDENTS AT THE PREP?: “I feel like being a teacher now is more important than it has been in a long time. The world is a tough place, and it is so hard to be a teenager right now. Helping them navigate that world and become a good person in a world where we keep hearing about so many people who aren’t—that’s just as important to me as teaching them how to write a good paper.”

WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT WORKING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE EVERY DAY?: “I love that they are hilarious. They have an energy about them that no adult does. They’re never afraid to share their opinions. They make personal connections to books and characters and make it come to life. I love that they keep me in line, and informed about pop culture so I don’t feel out of touch. They’re just fun. No two school days are the same, and you never know what you’re going to get into, but that’s the fun of it.”

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