“I feel so honored,” said Crystal Rizzuto, of being nominated as the Eastern Shore Parents Teacher of the Month. “To know that I made a difference in a child’s life and that a parent realized and appreciates that is priceless.”
Crystal is a kindergarten teacher at Spanish Fort Elementary. In first grade, she decided she wanted to be a teacher after she was positively impacted by some fantastic elementary school teachers of her own. She decided to earn her BA at the University of Maryland and then her Master’s in Education at Teacher College of San Joaquin in California. She has been teaching elementary school for 16 years and has more than ten years dedicated to teaching kindergarten.
“I try to make learning as fun as possible. I believe that kids should learn to love school in kindergarten,” Crystal shared. “It is the first year of their formal educational life, and they have many more years to go. Getting them engaged and excited about learning is what kindergarten should be all about.”
Crystal describes her way of teaching as fun and keeps her students engaged with a lot of movement! You can find her in her classroom singing, chanting, dancing, and crafting.
“Since their attention spans are so short, we move around a lot,” said Crystal. “I try to balance out pencil and paper work with movement-driven work. Breaking up their time in one place or doing one thing helps keep them engaged longer.”
“I love seeing their faces light up when they are learning,” Crystal explained. “Seeing the connections they make in their learning is so rewarding. I also love when a kid begins to read. It is a lifetime tool, so it is exciting to see it in the beginning stages.”
After 16 years of teaching, Crystal was happy to share some advice with teachers just starting their careers, “You must love the child, connect with the child and make the child feel safe. Only after that can learning really take place.”
School isn’t just about academics Crystal shared. Her students have taught her that they are family and that love and joy are essential in the classroom. Her hope is that her students take away a love for learning, and understand it isn’t how fast you can learn something, but how well.
Crystal Rizzuto and her husband Stephen live on the Eastern Shore and have five children. When Crystal isn’t spending time with family or teaching, she is acting as a real estate agent for EXIT Realty Landmark in Foley, AL.