An educator’s perspective on school violence

Future Spanish teacher, Micaela Donatello, shares her story and worries

By Joseph Cotton | Staff Writer

Newswire photo by Joseph Cotton
Micaela Donatello, a senior education student who plans to teach Spanish, poses alongside a set of notes for one of her education classes.

We all have had a special teacher who pushed us to become better students and better people. As teachers all over the world are being celebrated for their hard work, many of the future educators studying here at Xavier are looking ahead to the career path they have chosen.  

One of these future educators is senior Micaela Donatello who plans to use her Spanish major and minors in education and special education to teach Spanish in the Cincinnati area.

Donatello learned to value education and foreign languages at an early age, as her mother also taught foreign languages. She originally came to Xavier to study business but quickly realized she enjoyed working with kids more than working in the business setting.

“After four years of observations, I’ve found that Cincinnati has very good public schooling,” Donatello said when asked about where she plans on teaching. “I also enjoy Cincinnati as a city and have never had a negative experience in any of the schools.”

Donatello mentioned how her fifth-grade teacher, Ms. Wheeler, was one of her biggest influences while she went through school.

“She motivated me to work a lot harder in school (and) realize that I enjoyed going to school every day,” Donatello said.

Donatello stated she is aiming to create an environment where students look forward to coming to her class.

“I see my teaching style being very relaxed,” Donatello said. “With a curriculum like Spanish, I have the freedom to make it fun and individualized for each student.”

She said she looks forward to fostering a classroom environment of mutual respect and getting to know students on a personal level.

Education majors are required to complete around 300 hours of fieldwork, including 200 hours of student teaching in several different types of classroom environments. Teachers in the state of Ohio are also required to complete the Educator License Exams.

When asked about the rising rates of school violence, Donatello noted that it is in the back of everyone’s mind because of the amount of violence we have seen recently.

“I’ve been in schools that are doing everything they can to prevent (school violence),” Donatello said. “The measures they have in place are a lot higher than when I went to school.”

“(School violence) is constantly something we’re thinking about. We’re working on addressing it every day,” Xavier School of Education director Dr. Kathy Winterman noted when asked about the issue of school violence. “We have modules regarding multiculturalism and restorative justice including transgender issues and student mental health needs.”    

Donatello said she feels as though her time at Xavier has prepared her for the world of education.

“I have received a lot of beneficial knowledge,” Donatello said.

“Most of my professors have been teachers at one point and they have been able to share a lot of information on what it’s actually like.” She said that her opportunity to minor in special education will help her with the real schooling environment. 

Although she is excited to enter the field as an educator, Donatello believes that “We should focus on teaching students valuable information as opposed to teaching them to pass a standardized test.”