Chiara Caring About His School Community

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(Photo courtesy of Mr. Chiara)

Chiara said that he is thankful for his co-workers and especially so during COVID and all the changes that have impacted education. “Thankfully, it’s been great pinging ideas off of my co-workers as to what works and what doesn’t. It’s been a joint effort, for sure,” he said.

Hannah DeVoe, Editor in Chief

For English teacher Carmello Chiara, giving back to the community brings joy to his everyday life as a teacher. 

Chiara has been teaching at Warren Hills as an English teacher for eight years. Before becoming a teacher at Warren Hills, Chiara was an aide at Warren County Technical School.  

Chiara was homeschooled for his first three years of high school. For his senior year, Chiara decided to attend Belvidere High School and graduated in 2002.

Being homeschooled, Chiara said that he learned how to be self-sufficient and also how to motivate himself.

Following high school, Chiara attended Nyack College for his freshman year, then returned to attend Warren County Community College for three semesters. He returned to Nyack College for the last three semesters, and graduated with a  Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 2006.

“Long story short: I loved both experiences. Going to school away from home has its perks for sure, [such as] independence and learning to be an adult alongside people you didn’t grow up with,” he said. “But I was surprised by how much I enjoyed WCCC and actually was more involved there with school events and clubs than I ever was at Nyack.”

Chiara, who is married to another Warren Hills English teacher, Kristen Chiara, said that there are many pros that go along with his work. 

“I love working with high schoolers, I love talking about writing and reading, I love my coworkers,” he said. “The hours are great (even with working outside of the school day), the time off is wonderful, and the joy of watching students learning is impossible to explain until you experience it.”

While there are a lot of pros, there are only a few cons, Chiara said. 

“I could complain about minor issues and some of the ‘paperwork’ that comes along with the job,”  he said, “but every job has its level of stress, so why complain?”

Chiara said that it is the little things that are his favorite moments. 

“Each of these are part of a collective whole, which makes up the public teacher’s experience: the sound of the Marching Band practicing on the front lawn as the Football Team warms up for their home game that night, the hilarious Halloween costumes, the number of students who are Microsoft Office certified each year, Back to School Night, etcetera,” he said. “I  love that my job doesn’t feel like a job.”

With the changes this school year due to  COVID-19, Chiara said he is grateful that it was not too hard to adjust to remote learning. 

“Don’t get me wrong, this is not my preferred way to teach, but I think I adjusted quickly,” he said. “In the past few years, Warren Hills has shifted over to using Google Classroom nearly exclusively, and I dove in the past few years trying to make it work when school was ‘normal,’” he said.  “While I have had to adjust and reinvent the wheel this year, it has not been TOTALLY overwhelming — just slightly.”

Chiara gave some advice for anyone who is thinking of going into the education field. 

“Do teachers work very hard? Of course! But, teaching, I would argue, becomes more than work — it becomes a part of your identity,” he said. “If you have a real love for a certain school subject, have great patience and a passion for helping people learn something, and are not afraid of leading and public speaking, go for it!”