Ms. Blandino, Salesian’s Freshman Biology and Senior AP Psychology teacher, was kind enough to grant the Spectator an exclusive insight into her life and career, including insights about the study of Psychology and her role as a teacher here at Salesian.
Ms. Blandino graduated from Manhattanville College majoring in Biology and minoring in Psychology. When asked for her reasoning for getting into these two fields of science, her response was “I was always interested in the human body, how and why people do the things they do, so that would be the psychological aspect of it, but also like what internally makes someone clicks and why our bodies are more prone to certain things and certain situations.”
While in college, she knew she’d pursue something involving education and science and from there she hopes to get an additional degree in administration, seeing herself as a future Principal or a Dean of Academics down the line. She is influential in her community outside of Salesian as well since she is also a coach for a cheerleading squad at a neighboring high school that has practices three times a week and competes in competitions on both a national and regional level.
“Time management is key”
When it comes to balancing family, school, cheerleading, and her personal life, she says that “Time management is key.” Some advice she could give students that are also struggling with this comes from her own life experience in high school with time management. She says:
“You know it started back from when I was in high school. I was always involved in different clubs, different activities, wanting to maintain the honor roll constantly. It was just a matter of setting times for myself as well as times to when I’m going to get a homework assignment done. I kind of relay that into my adult life as a teacher. During my days at work, I have prep periods that I’m able to have 80 minutes every other day that I really like hone in on. This way by the time I have to leave here I have all my school work, and my work done this way I can go and give my cheerleaders my full attention. And then I like to have my weekend to myself. I see my family and my friends and have time to just kind of unwind and relax.”
She enjoys her time here at Salesian, teaching both the freshman and senior classes. She also believes that Biology and Psychology are closely related due to the fact Psychology deals with the human mind, which also ties into Neuroscience which is a sub-field of Biology. Since she has a deeper understanding of these branches of science through her studies, it also has helped her with the teaching techniques she uses in the classroom as well.
When asked how psychology influences her teaching, she told the Spectator:
“definitely, psychology plays a huge role in education, like even when I was in graduate school we took a lot of psych approaches and it really helps to understand that, you know, kids are all coming from different backgrounds, different home lives, different socio-economic factors. All this play a role to help me you know make better lesson plans and make it the best and most positive learning environment for my students.”
She also agrees that there definitely should be an introductory class to her AP Psychology class for Juniors so that they could get a feel of the class first to see if it’s for them before they actually take the class next year as a Senior. After her many years of teaching, she has ahead of her, she says that after she’s done with it, she’d like to move on to becoming a guidance counselor, or something relating to counseling, because as she says it’s as close to still being in the classroom but it’s a one-on-one to really know your individual students in a smaller setting.
After having this interview with Ms. Blandino, we got a deeper understanding of how she works in her classroom and her ideas on how she gets into the minds of her students to figure out a way to accommodate them the best. She is able to relate to her kids and understands how each student is different and comes from a different background and home-style. She uses that to help improve the way she teaches so the students better understand the material. She is more concerned about how her students feel when they walk into the classroom because the first step for a healthy relationship between a teacher and her class is a sense of trust and safety.
She says this herself that the last thing she wants is for a student to feel uncomfortable when they come into class and she wants to make sure they don’t. This then gives her a better understanding of the student, his background and how he is as a person so she is able to adjust certain things in her teaching techniques so everyone in the classroom gets a better understanding of what’s getting taught. Now knowing that she uses this in her everyday life, between social and school life shows how she uses what she learned in college and applying it to benefit the others in her life, reflecting her overall caring personality.