Deborah Bocchino



St. Pat's Reading Teacher

How long have you now been teaching at St. Patrick's?
          I have been teaching at St.Pat's for 27 years. I was originally hired as a part-time Kindergarten teacher, and 4 years later I became a full-time teacher. When I became full time, I taught Kindergarten in the morning and then Reading to all 4th and 5th graders in the afternoon. As the student population grew, I became a full-time Kindergarten teacher, teaching both the morning and afternoon sessions. In the year 2000, when New York State testing took on a different role, Sister Maureen McDade, our principal, asked me if I would be interested in being a full-time Reading teacher - and I accepted!

Where did you grow up and what is your educational background?          
    I grew up in Queens, and I received my Bachelor’s Degree from Queens College. I later attended Adelphi University and earned a Master’s Degree in Reading with an emphasis in Special Education. I then went on to C.W. Post and did some graduate work in Speech Pathology. 

What inspired you to become a teacher?
    I decided to become a teacher because I always loved school and learning, and I had many teachers that inspired me. The most important ones being my mom and dad. They instilled in me at an early age how important an education was. They also helped me develop such a love for reading.

Can you tell us about your family?
         I have two children, a son and a daughter. They both attended Smithtown High School, where we live. My son, Stephen then went on to Dowling College where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in banking and finance and currently works at J.P. Morgan Chase. He and his wife, Deanna have a little girl named Sophia. Currently, Sophia is my only grandchild. She is almost two years old, and she is the apple of my eye!
    My daughter, Kristen earned her Bachelor's Degree from Quinnipiac University and received her Masters Degree in Education from Dowling College. Although my children did not attend St.Pat's, I now get to go to work with my daughter! I never thought 27 years ago when I got the job at St.Pat's that one day I would be fortunate enough to work with her.

How has St. Pat's changed over the years? What's been the biggest change from a teaching perspective?
        St. Pat's has gone through a lot of changes since I first came to work here in 1987. At one time, we occupied one building and we now occupy three buildings! Along with the expansion of the building, I think the biggest change has been the introduction of more technology. It has opened up a whole new world for both students and teachers. Each classroom now has a Smart Board instead of a blackboard and attendance is now logged on the computer. The classroom has really become a global community. So much information is at the students’ fingertips! We now have iPads, laptops and a dedicated computer lab at our disposal.

What is your current teaching role? Do you have a favorite role at school?
      Currently, I teach Reading to grades Kindergarten through 3rd, using a direct instruction reading program called Horizons. This program has proven to be very beneficial to the students. Aside from teaching, my favorite role at school is that of "Princess". It means so much, because the name was affectionately given to me many years ago by one of my Kindergarten classes, and it has stuck through the years!

What have you found to be the most rewarding thing about teaching?
       One of the most rewarding things about teaching is seeing a child learn and discover something for the first time, and the pride they take in their efforts. It's so uplifting to me as an educator. I also feel very privileged to currently work with some of my former students.  I also keep in touch with many students and am always interested in what they have accomplished. Some of my former students have even invited me to their special events and sent letters thanking me for the start I gave them. These letters mean so very much to me. I've always looked at teaching as a vocation, and it is so important for me to inspire my students and to be a good role model.

What do you like to do in your free time?
        In my free time I like to be with my family, especially my granddaughter Sophia! I enjoy cooking, reading, shopping and trips to Manhattan.

(March 2014)