To see Vinny Tarantino leading a classroom, you would never guess that he has only been teaching high school Chemistry and Physics for a little over a year. His passion for both subjects bleed into the success of his students, who often approach him to share their victories in the classroom. Tarantino discovered his love of teaching in a roundabout way, after earning a master’s degree in accounting and working as an accountant for nearly two years. Having worked as an assistant instructor at Boston Tae Kwon Do since 2009, Tarantino had experienced the joy of teaching in another capacity. While he had always loved being in a role model position, he never pursued a career in teaching, until he realized that accounting would never bring him the same joy that he found in a learning setting.
“I really enjoyed accounting in college, but I did not get the same joy out of the job or the career path,” said Tarantino, who finds excitement every day while he teaches Honors and AP Chemistry and Physics.
What do you love about teaching?
One of my favorite things is watching a student grow and accomplish something. I have students come to me all the time to share their victories in all forms. Some students tell me about success in sports, other classes, video games, and even to tell me they understood my homework from the night before! It’s very satisfying to think that I may have had at least a small part in their success and that they could get something out of my class that’s not limited to drawing a free-body diagram or balancing chemical equations. I also spend a lot of time thinking about my subjects and how I would have wanted certain topics to be introduced to me. That’s one of the things that really excites me, how can I best deliver this content to reach as many students as possible? It’s forced me to really sit down and learn my subjects from as many angles as possible so that I can have a way to bring everyone in.
What do you love about teaching in Winthrop?
Winthrop is so special to me because it’s where I live, went to school, and plan on living for a very long time. Teaching in Winthrop was really the only option for me when I decided to get into the profession because it’s the place that I know.
Do you have a role model who inspired you to teach?
I have plenty of role models. My father, Carl Tarantino, always works as hard as he can, putting in long hours and even on holidays while never complaining. His attitude has really shown me that you need to put in the time and work hard to accomplish things – he would remind me of this every time I brought home a report card or a sub-par test from school. Another key role model is my Tae Kwon Do instructor, Jorge Alves, who really taught me that no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care. That’s a teaching philosophy that he has used for many years here in Winthrop, and I keep it in mind every day while teaching at the high school. Additionally, I had many teachers in high school (who are now my co-workers) that have formed my prototype for what a good teacher should be. I hope that one day I can have a student think the same way about me that I think about my teachers.