Teacher Feature: Mrs. Susan Cavagnaro

sue cavagnaro
Allison Kostiuk

Mrs. Susan Cavagnaro, alumna, teacher, and alumnae parent has seen a thing or two in her more than 30 years at OLMA, but she never thought she would be teaching entirely from home. "This is something I never expected, but as a teacher, I've learned to adapt to anything," she said. "It's what we do. Every class is different, so we never teach the same thing the same way. We learn to be flexible and to teach in whatever way best meets the needs of our students. Right now, that's online. While it is a challenge and a lot of work, it's also kind of fun."

Mrs. C teaches five different online courses, including College Prep and Honors U.S. History, AP U.S. History, Sociology, and World Civilization. "I have years of resources at my fingertips in the classroom. I've had to replace and recreate much of that using new online resources and changing up my approach to the material." Mrs. C explained that she recently had her World Civilization class take a virtual tour of Palestine as part of a lesson on promise and betrayal throughout the world. "I'm also using more modern-day examples with my Sociology students, like having them analyze forms of crime by watching certain episodes of TV shows like Criminal Minds. It is taking me much longer to prep for classes but that's fine with me as long as my students are getting what they need and understanding the material." 

Mrs. C said that while she is only scheduled for live sessions twice a week for each of her classes, she is finding herself on Zoom much more often. "The girls prefer the face-to-face interaction," she said. "If that's what works, then that's what I will do. It's going very well." 

Of particular challenge for Mrs. C right now, is preparing her students for changes in this year's AP testing. "The format has changed from a three-hour test with mostly multiple-choice questions to one that's 45-minutes long and essay-based," she said. "Fortunately, the College Board is providing lots of good resources for teachers. I'm spending a lot of time digesting that to make sure I'm giving my students every advantage." 

Of course, that's Mrs. C. Thank you, Mrs. C, for sharing your experience, professionalism, and passion for teaching with all of us at OLMA.

  • teacher feature
image for default post board