Something Adelphi University helped me develop was greater self-awareness.
David Ferrone, M.S. ’10, teaches kindergarten, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. Becoming a teacher seemed a long shot considering the learning challenges he faced as a boy. But through his hard work and the caring and expertise of the faculty at Adelphi University, Mr. Ferrone earned a master’s degree in literacy and achieved his goal.
“David understands children who struggle,” said Judith Cohen, J.D., Ph.D., Mr. Ferrone’s faculty adviser and a professor in the Ruth S. Ammon School of Education. “The profession benefits from his dedication and strong presence in the lives of many children.”
Mr. Ferrone, who uses geology, gardening and construction to enhance his teaching of kindergarteners, recalls his path to becoming a teacher:
I never believed that I had any special talents. My average grades led me to believe that school wasn’t for me. But as an undergrad at William Paterson University and, especially, during my master’s degree work at Adelphi, I began to believe otherwise.
My father had it worse in regard to education. Back then you were in a bind if you didn’t understand what was being presented; information was generally taught one way. He dropped out at 16. Within a few years he had his own hair salon, which he still owns. I often imagine what his life would have been like were his teachers able to tap into his strengths rather than chastise him for his weaknesses.
When it came to choosing a graduate school, my choice was Hofstra or Adelphi. When I visited Hofstra, I nearly got lost in the parking lot. The campus seemed loud. Adelphi was far more serene. Adelphi also offered a more hands-on program based on real-life experience. I have never regretted my decision.
At Adelphi, I read a great deal about learning disabilities. I felt more empowered and accepting of my own learning “flaws,” and I can address similar issues with my own students. My wife, Christy, teaches art at a middle school. Our career paths were chosen before we were a couple, but she influences my work. She’s hard working, caring and dedicated.
I’m in my eighth year at Hewitt Elementary School in Rockville Centre, New York, where I live. All but one of those years has been spent teaching kindergarten. Kindergarten may not be “manly” enough for some guys. One has to put aside feelings of embarrassment to ensure the students’ full experience. I felt ridiculous the first time I tried to sing nursery rhymes, read in different voices or dance with the kids. Now I relish the opportunity, and my students appreciate the effort.
I would advise more men to consider teaching in the primary grades. It’s a rewarding feeling to educate young children.
Something Adelphi helped me develop was greater self-awareness. The professors encouraged me to look at childhood education more objectively and focus less on my perceived weaknesses and more on my strengths. This has helped me become an effective teacher.
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