North Star

Past Lives: Teachers reflect on their past professions

Ashlee Goodpaster, Staff Member

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






In our February issue, staff member Ashlee Goodpaster dove deep into the past lives of some of LN’s most notable teachers. Here are three of the stories from the print edition. 

 

Liliana Núñez: After working for Indianapolis Public Schools, she switched to working at a prison in hopes of making a positive impact.

Before coming to work at LN, Liliana Núñez worked in a prison. Although many might believe this job would be drastically different, Núñez believes in many ways, that job prepared her for the one she has now.
“It taught me to be more compassionate, understanding to more people’s mistakes and also to not be scared of big people, and even if they act really bad, they are not as menacing as the people I used to work with,” Núñez said.
She had wanted to take a break from the IPS schools, but still wanted to be a teacher at the prison because they paid really well and the teachers there had good benefits, and good experiences. She heard good things from friends and associates saying that “It’s a job that you have until you die or retire,” so she decided to give it a shot. Núñez was stationed and felt like the job began to get too emotional. Feeling discouraged because of the kids that had really rough lives, and wanting to be able to make a difference in their lives, she gave her best effort in a position that taught her the value of compassion.
“I felt that I just couldn’t do it anymore for the fact that I wanted to save everybody but I just couldn’t handle seeing so much pain in so many of my students,” Núñez said.
Working long hours was the job. Working extra hours was a bonus. 12 hour shifts were normal and sometimes working an extra four to eight hours was expected.
“I felt like I didn’t have a life. I would work, eat, and if I was lucky I’d sleep, and that was my life. It wasn’t a very fun or happy time in my life,” Núñez said.
Throughout her time at the prison, Nunez learned lots of lifelong lessons, that she will be able to transfer into her teachings everyday.
“As humans, people in prison struggle with lots. People need to learn that people make mistakes but that doesn’t make you a bad person, even if you went to jail for some amount of time,” Núñez said.

 

Spanish teacher Liliana Núñez

 

Sally Stevens: From working with animals to teaching about animals, she worked at zoos before becoming a teacher.

Scuba-diving the Great Barrier Reef. Interning at the Indianapolis Zoo and at the Public Zoo in Georgia. Living in Australia for five months. These are all events that five year teacher Sally Stevens was able to put on her resume when applying to become the zoology/marine biology teacher she is now.
Before Stevens came to LN, her specialty and passion was working in zoos as summer internships. She interned at the very small Public Zoo in Georgia, which was a free zoo at a local park that had anything as small as opossums to large black bears. Having that experience under her belt, she later interned at the Indianapolis Zoo in the forest biome, which had all of the tigers, bears and lemurs.
“After working in zoos, especially the Indianapolis Zoo, I found that working in zoos is a very physically demanding job, and I’m not a very physically strong person- I’m more mentally strong, but my love for the animals is always there,” Stevens said.
Stevens developed that love from the time she was a little girl, when she says she had every type of animal in the house, including dogs, cats, snakes, guinea pigs, hamsters, rats, ferrets, iguanas, noles and rabbits. Having what almost amounted to a zoo itself was considered normal in her family.
“We were the type of people that if we saw a bird hit by a car we’d take them into animal shelters. When we found stray dogs we would keep them until we could find their homes or get a new home for them,” Stevens said.
This caring nature is one of the many things that has stayed with her throughout teaching. Stevens currently teaches Marine Biology and Zoology, and has recently assembled together a zoology club. The club is for anyone attending Lawrence North and will feature field trips, and up close interactions with lots of animals.
“I really just want to teach kids to have an appreciation for animals, especially because some of them have never had the opportunity to engage with them,” Stevens said. “I really want to show them that cool animals are not just about the tigers, lions and bears, but so many more weird things out there that they can get excited about.”

Science teacher Sally Stevens

 

Anthony Rufatto: As a former lawyer and Muncie District Attorney, he always knew he wanted to help educate young students about the law. 

It started with law, and later turned to LAWrence North. Anthony Rufatto was a lawyer for 15 years, including three years as a deputy prosecutor for Delaware County, Indiana. Outside of that, Rufatto prosecuted in a lot of civil cases with a wide range of areas of law.
“Being a lawyer prepared me for being a teacher because negotiation and conflict resolution are important when you are working in a classroom. You are used to working with people that don’t always want to be in your presence. You also get a good training on quickly and deliberately delivering information to students and get a sense of what is really important for them to understand,” Rufatto said.
Education was always important in Rufatto’s family, especially since many of them were or are educators, but at 8 years old, Rufatto saw a TV show, “L.A. Law” and was hooked. There was born his aspiration of taking a different path to become a lawyer.
“The general attitude of me being able to help people is part of the reason I got burned out. In a law office, you keep seeing the same people with the same problems and I didn’t have the resources to change their habits. One of the things that I want to accomplish here is to give students better habits and strategies so that when they go into the real world they don’t have to deal with those issues,” Rufatto said.
Knowing that he wanted more with his life than courtrooms and trials, Rufatto soon went on to look for a new job. It became clear that he was destined to be a teacher after recommendations from family and friends. The differences between the two jobs while different, still have the same base intentions.
“Your goal at the end of the day is to have the people you are responsible for better off then they were when they first walked into the door. In a legal sense, you are advising them of their rights and trying to protect those, and in the classroom you are charged with sending students out into the world wiser and smarter than when they came in. You get professional and personal satisfaction,” Rufatto said.
During his time as a lawyer with Delaware County, Rufatto also helped with the legal issues for the show ‘Armed and Famous’, which trained celebrities to be police officers in Muncie. Rufatto had the chance to meet celebrities, such as Erik Estrada (pictured above), who was a part of the training.

Social Studies teacher Anthony Rufatto (right) with Erik Estrada (left)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

The North Star wishes to hear feedback from all readers, but reserves the right to edit, hide, or delete comments that are repeated, that contain profanity and that contain otherwise offensive language or content.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Past Lives: Teachers reflect on their past professions

    News

    Lawrence North football faces off Warren Central

  • Past Lives: Teachers reflect on their past professions

    News

    Over the edge

  • Past Lives: Teachers reflect on their past professions

    News

    Despite the Inclement Weather, Homecoming Celebrations Persevere: Photo Gallery

  • Past Lives: Teachers reflect on their past professions

    Entertainment

    Beginning of the School Year Brings in New Teachers and Administrators

  • Past Lives: Teachers reflect on their past professions

    News

    LN Football hopes to improve team by implementing changes

  • Past Lives: Teachers reflect on their past professions

    News

    Band is hosting a car show to raise funds for the band program

  • Past Lives: Teachers reflect on their past professions

    News

    Lawrence Township school district discuss safety and security at PREP

  • Past Lives: Teachers reflect on their past professions

    News

    Students and staff discuss the start of a new school year: Q & A

  • Past Lives: Teachers reflect on their past professions

    News

    School initiates new safety protocols

  • Past Lives: Teachers reflect on their past professions

    News

    The new student voices

The student news site of Lawrence North High School
Past Lives: Teachers reflect on their past professions