Anita Slanina's Learning Story


My name is Anita Jo Marchesi Slanina and I live in Galveston, Texas. I attended O’Connell Junior High and O’Connell Senior High School. I am a product of the most amazing teachers. These teachers touched my life in ways they could never imagine. The most important lesson that was imparted on me was to believe in myself because they always did. They never accepted “I can’t” it just was not a part of their vocabulary and they were able to help me delete it from mine. Brother Ray was a quiet easy going person who without any fanfare devoted his whole life to us, his students and asked nothing in return. Miss Rose Marie Janca who taught math and evn thought I was a struggling math student she always found the one concept that I was good at and she attached my self esteem to that concept and eventually I would get it! Sr. Rose Marie Moran was my English teacher and she was able to bring Literature and prose to life, we had wonderful discussions that were mind boggling and yet challenging. What I remember most is her ability to listen, really listen to what we were saying, or to at least what we were trying to say. Ms. Cathy KirkPatrick taught Enlish, World Literature and Drama. This lady was incredible as she took all of her subjects to a hands on move around the room re-enact curriculum. We learned as we re-enacted roles throughout literature, or tapped out grammer rules, and then there were the plays. I was in Drama and I loved every minute of it, she dared to produce plays, productions that gave people cause to sit up and take notice, to questions their own religious, political, and racial views about life. To Sr. Carol Wagner who was a small, 5 foot 1 nun, she ran around in her habit however she wore tennis shoes and would get outside with us and play football, basketball, she interacted with all of us, and again listened, really listened to what we had to say. She of course taught Religion and this was a Catholic School that I was attending. We were not all Catholic and she embraced everyones faith, she taught us to respect each other and to look at each other as individuals. She was very energetic and her energy was contagious. Last but not least was Walter Candelari an awesome teacher who looked for the good in all of us, looked for what we were good at and embraced it. He allowed us to manipulate our environment, manipulate as in using a hands on approach to learning. We were notasked to sit in desks all day long and read from text books or be read to, and or lectured to for hours. We had interactive discussions, role playing, areas that he had created throughout the classroom to keep us learning and engaged throughout the day. Because of all of these teachers I am now teaching at Our Lady Of Lourdes Cathoic school in Hitchcock, Texas. I have been there for the last 30 years and I love what I do. I am now teaching past students children, I am a teacher because of those who paved the way for me. The teachers that I have written about always challenged me to be the best that I could be. They taught me to raise the bar for myself, they taught me to look at each student as individuals as not as an entire class. They believed in me and taught me to believe in myself. They taught me to be autonomous and to stay on my feet when I teach, to have my children learn in a hands on method using learning centers, learning stations. Teaching to each child’s strengths. I will never forget these people thay have changed my life forever and have empowered me to change my students lives as well.