Brielle/her parents would like to nominate Mrs. Mary Tita who teaches Kindergarten at Saint Matthew’s School in Forestville, CT.
From the beginning of the school year (Fall 2019) Mrs. Tita welcomed her students in with a lot of love and faith that everything was going to be ok. I will use Brielle in a lot of these examples.
Each week a student is chosen to be the welcome student. What this means is the student wears a green apron with patches on it to either shake hands, do muscles, hug or fist pumps. Each student will walk up to the welcome student and do one of the options to welcome them in each morning. This encourages these kids to become great friends and welcome each other and no one is an outsider.
The kindergarteners with the help of Mrs. Tita have older grade classmates who come and read books each week and do activities. This helps each student in her class as well as the school to welcome each other and should not be afraid of older grade kids, just because they are not in the class.
Each and every day the parents receive updates (via e-mail – Blooms App) of their child and the progress they are making individually and as a class and how they are growing in many traits. She also captures pictures throughout the day as part of the e-mail that is sent out. This simple task or challenging one depending how you look at it is so important for every parent to see their child is included on all the activities each day and the kid’s happiness and love for their fellow friends and teacher.
Like many schools in North America this year it wasn’t the norm and having to switch from an in-person school to a virtual education was definitely the challenge each teacher had to overcome with how will it work and etc. As a parent I watched Mrs. Tita grab the bull by the horns and had it covered using different tools available (ex. Seesaw, Super Kids, Stories done virtually or YouTube (Mr.Noodle) videos that were educational) teaching them different lessons. Yes, other subjects such as math, reading and religion were done as well. Every day she sent out an e-mail with all the task to complete and how long they should take and making it fun. Riddles and poems were included as part of it to go over with each child. The words through the riddles and poems captured were amazing and kept our child entertained and eager for more. Really as if Mrs. Tita was reading it to the child herself.
As I mentioned teaching virtually has its challenge and Kindergarten is no exception to the rule. Brielle struggled with some math but more so with reading. I reached out to Mrs. Tita explaining our challenge with Brielle and her difficulties with reading and sounding out the words. My wife and I felt that Brielle was starting to fall behind. Mrs.Tita made herself available as much as we needed and anytime that worked for us and her. She conducted this one on one time with Brielle and it totally has changed Brielle’s reading skills like I have never seen. Brielle has confidence in reading and wants to read more all because of how Mrs. Tita helped her overcome her obstacles. Now you might say, that’s what teachers should do, but the way Mrs. Tita connected with Brielle and encouraged her and rewarded her with excitement and happiness was the connection any parent wants to see from teacher to a student. Brielle loved Mrs. Tita before then, but now was a whole new level of love and appreciation. Brielle couldn’t wait to have this time each week to see Mrs. Tita on Zoom and connect with her and help her in reading a small book or Super Kids. Brielle never wanted each session to end.
Furthermore, Mrs. Tita also had twice a week zoom calls with the whole class and during those calls she would go over reading and or math and, on some occasions, had a surprise visitor of either the Principal, the teacher assistant (Mrs. Esnard), Music teacher to older grade buddies. Again, teaching over Zoom is no easy task and Mrs. Tita had her smile that she always has and could grab every kids’ attention without any problem. As soon as she asked for the students attention and start a lesson every kid was spot on listening and adding value to the lesson as Mrs. Tita would ask questions. Mrs. Tita engaged with every student on the zoom call and you could see the respect/love they have for Mrs. Tita. They would before, during and as the call came to a close tell her how much they miss her and love her and wish they all could go back to school for more in person fun times. Words don’t do this justice on the amount of love they have for Mrs. Tita as their teacher.
When doing virtual learning it has the limits on missing out on the schedule/planned field trips. Well Mrs. Tita added in the value of having virtual field trips with her class. It would be either the Space station (ISS) with the recent Demo2 (Dragon/Falcon) or a Zoo virtual trip and a few others. Mrs. Tita knew how to capture the children with these video’s and she did it naturally. The next day on the Zoom call each kid just couldn’t wait to share what they loved about the virtual trip. Sometimes as a parent hard to contain Brielle because she wanted to tell Mrs. Tita and her classmates what she felt, saw and loved about the virtual field trip it was hard to contain her excitement.
As this year was coming to a close and a class of 18 I believe, Mrs. Tita and her assistant set out to visit each child on a road trip. Now imagine all these students living in various towns because the school is a private school, well that didn’t matter. We didn’t tell Brielle who was coming, just let it be a surprise. At about noon time Mrs. Tita stopped in with Mrs.Esnard and Brielle could barely contain her emotions and excitement because Mrs. Tita was here. (She loves Mrs. Esnard too) Brielle wanted to hug Mrs. Tita so bad and Mrs. Tita did too, but keeping social distance Brielle did her best to keep to the virtual hug with arms wide open. When Mrs. Tita left, Brielle was sad and cried a little because you see, Mrs. Tita is way more than a teacher to her. Brielle adores Mrs. Tita for all her help and the impact she has had on her all year and allowing her to grow with confidence and love and respect for others. Brielle recognizes her skills she has learned and are attributed to the way Mrs. Tita connects with all the students.
During one of the last Zoom sessions with Mrs. Tita, there was a virtual graduation from Kindergarten where Mrs. Tita collected all the pictures, she had taken from the beginning of the year through zoom sessions and put it into a beautiful musical slide show. Mrs. Tita was determined to show the students how much she loves them through all the photos and music and in my opinion she did it naturally because it was nothing short of amazing!!! After it was over, every student told her how much they loved her and missed her. (Tears as a parent of how beautiful this was.)
Brielle wanted to give Mrs. Tita an award for all that she has done to help her grow and read. She mentioned to me, “Can we do something for Mrs. Tita because she makes me so happy and is the best teacher.” Brielle just simply adores and loves Mrs. Tita for all that she has done. Personally, as parents nothing makes us happier to have chosen Saint Matthew’s School to send Brielle to, but even more blessed that Brielle had the opportunity to connect with a super star teacher as Mrs. Tita.
In closing Mrs. Tita deserves this award for many reasons and on many levels. No or not trying was never an answer for any of her students and that was powerful from the get go. They will get over the obstacle together. Mrs. Tita has and will always be an essential part of Brielle’s life for as long as she lives. Mrs. Tita’s dedication to the school and her students is apparent to any parent for all the work she puts into each lesson and the joy of the kids get out of it. I know a lot was mentioned in this nomination but this is just some of the things Mrs. Tita has done with the kids and there is so much more. I as a parent never have seen a teacher go above and beyond like Mrs. Tita has and it should be recognized as its simply amazing. If Mrs. Tita sees this, please know we as the Brayne Family couldn’t be happier that Brielle had the opportunity to be in your class but to learn Love and respect and how to be so caring for others than she does now.
To the body of the nomination process thank you for taking the time to review this nomination and I hope you will seriously consider Mrs. Tita for this highly regarded nomination/award. In my opinion no one deserves this more than Mrs. Tita for all that she gives from her heart to her students.
Kristen & Todd Brayne