Photo courtesy of Angela D'Onofrio

For Italian teacher, sharing culture is part of the job

Angela D’Onofrio shuffles from both the middle school and high school, teaching the language and culture she grew up with: Italian. After five years of living in the United States, D’Onofrio and her family moved to Calabria, Italy, where she found a true passion for the Italian language.

“I have a direct connection with the language and culture, and it’s just the greatest subject to teach,” D’Onofrio said. 

D’Onofrio has been teaching for 21 years outside of the West Essex school district, ever since she received a call from a South Jersey principal to interview as a Spanish teacher. Because she had her undergraduate degree in Spanish from Rutgers, she gladly accepted, and she says it was the best decision she ever made because now she has developed a passion for teaching. Here at West Essex, D’Onofrio is teaching Italian in the Middle school as well as Italian II and Italian III in the high school.  

World Languages supervisor Laura Drago said, “she infuses the culture of Italy into her lessons regularly.”

“I hate just talking to my students, I like when the whole classroom participates and is involved in the discussion.” D”Ornofrio said. 

The new Italian teacher feels that her students don’t learn as much when they are just being lectured so she does everything she can to make her classroom a warm and friendly environment where everyone is beyond comfortable to participate. She wants them to be excited to be involved in the culture, and not feel like they are there just because they have to be. D’Onofrio loves when she sees her students excited to learn. 

“Her passion for teaching and for her students is evident and because she has that passion she will make a smooth transition.” said Drago. 

On her days off, D’Onofrio loves to spend time at the beach and she enjoys diving into an interesting book. She also loves spending time with her family and friends, and loves to cook and bake items from her culture. 

“My goal is to get everybody passionate or have them continue to be passionate about the language, and also have them be able to communicate in Italian,” D’Onofrio said about her students.

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