Una de Nuestras Favoritas: Señora Trifiletti

Megan Gill, In Depth Editor

Spanish teacher Lolitta Trifiletti has been teaching for a total of 35 years, working at both private and public schools.

Trifiletti attended college at California State University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, and the University of Puerto Rico. She went into the Humanities field, majoring in English literature and minoring in French Fine Arts.

She finished college early and decided to take education courses. Soon thereafter she took a job teaching.

“I truly loved it!” she said about teaching English as a second language.

Trifiletti said one of her biggest inspirations to be a good teacher came from her previous teachers and how they taught her important lessons.

“My inspiration to try to be a good teacher was the outstanding education I received during my twelve years under the School Sisters of Notre Dame,” she said. “The nuns’ dedication to teaching, along with my mother’s strict upbringing and expectations, helped form the person I strive to be.”

For Trifiletti, however, the most important lessons meant more than just the academic content.

“I learned, not only the educational material in all of my classes, but also perseverance, ethics, determination, punctuality, compassion, and responsibility,” she said.

Trifiletti said what she most enjoys about teaching is when students understand the content, when students show respect towards her, and the “endearing notes, cards, letters, and remarks about their experience.”

Trifiletti also explained how the teaching of world languages is now more focused on communication skills, rather than grammar and basic concepts.

“When I first started teaching the foreign languages lessons, they were designed to develop the structure of the language,” she said. “Now the lessons are providing listening, speaking, reading, and writing practice to develop communication in the target language.”’

But after 35 years of teaching, what are some of the Señora’s most memorable experiences?

She recalled that one of the funniest moments in her classroom was an unintended result of her preparing to make her class fun.

“I remember painting my face like a clown to introduce vocabulary related to the circus,” she said. “The problem was that the Expo markers I used did not wash off easily, so for the entire day I had a clown face, even for classes not learning about el circo.”

Trifiletti also recalled one frightening time in the classroom.

“A few years ago, I was taking attendance at my desk on the computer,” she said.  “Suddenly I felt something crawling up my arm. It was a baby mouse.”

She said she was so scared that they heard her screams in Japan.

She also said that she has had surprise moments throughout her many years of teaching, but that her most surprising moment occurred just last spring.

“Last year, Mr. Clymer, Mr. Kavcak, and Mrs. Moore entered my classroom with a huge bouquet of flowers,” she said. “To my surprise, they were for me for being chosen as Teacher of the Year. I was overwhelmed, and cried, of course.”

Trifiletti’s advice to others entering the teaching field is to “prepare your lessons well, be fair and be firm, but compassionate.”

She also said she loves when alumni contact her and tell her how they are doing now.

“The best reward of teaching is when alumni continue to stay in touch through the years,” she said, “especially those I have influenced in pursuing careers that include a World Language.”