Richard Manzi may have thought graduating from Saint Anselm meant leaving behind a supportive, tight-knit community; little did the rookie teacher realize that his first job at Nativity Preparatory School in New Bedford, Mass., would provide him with an environment just as helpful and welcoming.
"The hours in the classroom were extremely important to me. The wide variety of classroom experience helped me narrow down the grades and subjects that I would feel most comfortable teaching."
A former baseball player and education studies major, Richard now teaches fifth grade science as well as seventh and eighth grade math and coaches the boy's baseball team. Nativity Prep School is an independent, tuition-free middle school for boys from low-income families. The school aims to provide a challenging but supportive learning environment to educate young men academically prepared for a bright future.
"The school itself is known for helping and saving students from getting lost in the public school system and dropping out eventually," Richard says. "We send students to good high schools and help them look for colleges when they get to that point."
Richard came to Saint Anselm with a hunch that he might want to teach for a living. His sophomore field experience in a seventh grade math class proved that education was the right field for him. The following year he volunteered at Webster Elementary School in several special needs classrooms. His senior year, he taught at Highland-Goffe's Falls Elementary School. All his time in the classroom through Saint Anselm's education program prepared him for his first year of teaching.
"My student teaching experience last year played a large role in settling some nerves at the beginning of this year," he said. "Although I am still learning about the students and the school every day, I feel like I have come a long way in teaching in a short amount of time and I give most of that credit, again, to student teaching my senior year at St. A's."
Richard finds his job extremely rewarding. Aside from enjoying teaching math and science, solving number problems and doing labs, he finds satisfaction in seeing his students develop and mature so quickly. So for Richard, Nativity is the perfect fit.