Catching Up With Mrs. DeFazio
Ra'saan Stevens | On 30, Sep 2019
Ra’saan Stevens with The Commentator: Good afternoon! How are you?
Mrs. Meredith DeFazio: I’m good! Good afternoon!
RS: Your room smells really good.
MD: Thank you! Oh my god (laughing), I just bought this new freshener and it’s gotten me so many compliments.
RS: That’s wonderful! Where’d you get it?
MD: Target. The place of wonders.
RS: Sounds wonder-ful.
MD (laughing): That was good. I liked that. Kudos.
RS: Me too. So, today I’m going to be asking you a series of questions about your life inside and outside of school.
MD: Okay! Sounds fun.
RS: You have been a history teacher for quite a few years now. What is your favorite time period to teach? What is your least favorite?
MD: Well, I’ve been teaching World History for four years, this will be my fourth year. My favorite time period of World History is either Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome, but of history all together, I really enjoy teaching American History, Roaring Twenties, that period.
RS: If you had to choose a different subject to teach, what would it be and why?
MD: Art, probably, just because I really enjoy drawing, and that’s what I did in college and high school.
RS: Is that something you do in your spare time today?
MD: No, I don’t have time anymore, but I’d really like to do it.
RS: During my freshman year, you were the coach of the girls’ soccer team. How was that experience for you, and would you ever do it again?
MD: It was fun! We didn’t win very often, but it was fun! I probably wouldn’t do it again just because I don’t have the time right now, but I’ve played soccer all my life through high school and grammar school, so it was fun getting back into it when I first came here.
RS: Are there any other extracurricular activities you might consider taking part in?
MD: No, not right now. I don’t really have the time.
RS: Can you compare and contrast your experience from when you first began working at Hudson Catholic to now?
MD: I’m definitely a lot more comfortable with the students and where everything is in the school. Just as freshmen become comfortable as their years go on here, I became comfortable as well. I like it a lot better than when I first started.
RS: What’s another career choice you considered? Why? How different do you think your life would be if you chose that path?
MD: I always wanted to be a police officer! My mother told me not to though, because she thought that I would get hurt. She said, “Be a teacher instead!” Because here you get off on summers, it [is] great when you’re a mom, and she was right, because it is really good get out at 2:15 and all that stuff.
RS: Yeah, my mom was a correctional officer when she had my older sisters, so she didn’t really see them much as a result of her working all the time. That’s why when she found out she was pregnant with me, she put her foot down and retired to actually spend time with her kid.
MD: Aww! That’s so cute. Not for your sisters though (laughing).
RS: Yeah, I was the spoiled one. You also worked as a middle school teacher. Can you tell us about that experience?
MD: Honestly, teaching eighth grade is very similar to teaching freshmen. That was no big deal for me, but teaching fifth grade and teaching high school kids, that would be the biggest jump. There’s a bit more mediation between younger kids. Here, you can just teach, because everyone is growing up and slowly becoming adults. Things become more mature.
RS: So is it easier for you to teach high schoolers?
MD: To a degree, I guess. I did enjoy teaching middle school, though!
RS: Your classroom always has some sort of decor. Why do you think it’s important for teachers to decorate their rooms?
MD: It’s something different for kids to look at when they come in. It makes them feel homey. No one wants to look at blank walls. That’s depressing and boring. Decorations definitely jazz up your life!
RS: Every teacher has encountered an obnoxious student. Can you describe your experience of dealing with the most bothersome student you have had?
MD: Usually I just call their parents or pull them to the side. Some of them have problems at home, so you have to be sympathetic towards that. But when it’s nothing like that, then sometimes it’s just simply wanting to fit in, so you have to work with them, but if it gets too much, then I just send them downstairs.
RS: Aside from activities, how do you keep your students engaged with your class?
MD: Showing a variety of videos and hands-on activities such as group work, projects, discussions, just anything that can keep them engaged with the lesson that’s going on.
RS: When you were pregnant, you still took the stairs because of your fear of elevators. Can you tell us why you’re afraid of them and where this fear stemmed from?
MD: Anybody can get killed in one! I’m terrified of them, and I always have been. I remember a story about a man who got stuck in an elevator over a weekend at his job, and he had to wait until Tuesday to get out! I think that really intensified my fear of them. But also, the exercise was good for me since my room is on the third floor.
RS: Finally, is there something attendees at Hudson Catholic might not know about you?
MD: Nope! I’m an open book!
RS: Well, thank you for your time! This was amazing.
MD: Well, thank you for interviewing me! I’m so glad I could help.