Early Childhood, Grades 1 & 2 and EAL Teacher
Rob Caramella first joined ZIS as a Grade 2 teacher before moving to Grade 1 for the remainder of his time at ZIS.
When children, colleagues or parents entered Rob's classroom, they entered a very special teaching environment. Rob always arrived back to the Lower School campus long before the summer vacation had officially finished, to clean and prepare his classroom, ready for the magic to happen. The walls were lined with beautiful wicker baskets and various vintage items and curios from his extensive travels. Immediately inside the door was a giant loft bed, with a ladder leading up to a cushioned hideaway and underneath, an inviting quiet reading space with baskets full of books. All around the room were other work spaces at different heights, with chairs or none, so that children could find a space that suited their learning style. In the middle of the room was the all important Meeting Space - a place where Rob gathered children at regular intervals during the day, to share, reflect and wonder. Their words were always valued and scribed in Rob's incredibly neat handwriting on large pieces of paper, which were then hung around the room.
His generous nature was also extended to the faculty, helping anyone who asked, with professional advice, taking extra duties without question or just being a sympathetic ear if that was what was needed.
Typical comments from one of the nominators (more below):
"After 2 weeks in his class, Rob knew the personality of our daughter as well as we did - the intricacies, the keys that fired her imagination, how to challenge her and so on. My family learned to spell Rob's list of 500 words, 25 at a time, whilst bouncing on the trampoline at home, and our younger son learned at the same time. That remains one of my treasured memories. Rob Caramella knew every kid in his class, every single key to unlock each individual mind, and had a gentle authority that created a constant fun learning environment. Fast forward - our daughter graduated and took her place at one of the best Universities in the UK, University College London, to study medicine. Thanks Rob - you set her on the path to life long learning and will remain 'that teacher' that changed all of our lives."
ZIS John Mattern Award for Alumni Faculty