Teacher Spotlight: Ms. Benedetti Loves to Teach

English Lit teacher has two master’s degrees!

Lauren Benedetti is an English Literature teacher at Passaic Preparatory Academy. She said she has learned a lot while teaching from home during the coronavirus pandemic and finds designing lessons challenging. Since quarantine, she’s been reading more and watching TV. Shows that she watches include Money Heist, Tiger King, and The Big Flower Fight.

One thing that she’s most proud of is earning two master’s degrees with a 4.0 GPA! She looks forward to summer break for time in the sun, reading, being with family and friends, and doing some traveling, though she said this summer will be different.


The Boulevard: What are some things that you have learned while staying at home?

Ms. Benedetti: Staying at home has opened my eyes to a lot of things. In terms of teaching, working from home has really challenged me to design lessons that I feel are meaningful and varied. I have learned the importance of trying to connect with students and determine areas in which they are struggling, whether it is academically, personally, or emotionally. This is a difficult time for all of us, and I want my students to know that I am here to support them. In terms of life, I have learned that I do not need much to be happy. I have learned that a simpler life is better. Whenever this ends, I hope to maintain a simple lifestyle of spending time on my work, reading, taking care of my health, talking to family and the people who matter in life, as opposed to being inundated with obligations and materialistic needs.


TB: If you had a time machine, would you go back in time or visit the future? Why? What would you do there?

Ms. B: Oh, what an interesting question! I think I would go back in time. I do not think I want to know what the future holds. I would prefer to wait and see what happens. My favorite time period in literature is the end of the 19th century. I think I would go back to that time period, and I would want to visit my great-grandparents to meet them and see how they lived their lives. 


Pullquote Photo

I think that teachers have a similar experience to students when it comes to summer breaks — they seem to fly by!

— Ms. Benedetti, Prep English Lit teacher

TB: If you could visit one place on Earth, where would you go?

Ms. B: I love to travel, and hope to have the opportunity to visit many places in the future. However, if I had to choose one place, I would say Maldives, which is an island in South Asia. It just looks like a beautiful and relaxing place to be.


TB: What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Ms. B: I think that I am most proud of earning two master’s degrees with a 4.0 GPA for both. I really do enjoy learning and taking courses, but it was a lot of work and difficult at times to manage on top of teaching. 


TB: Is there any Netflix show that you really enjoyed watching?

Ms. B: I recently watched Money Heist and I really enjoyed it. I have been reading more than I have been watching TV, but since quarantine, I have watched Tiger King (obviously), Money Heist, and The Big Flower Fight (which was interesting and entertaining).


TB: How do you spend your summer breaks? Will this year be different?

Ms. B: I think that teachers have a similar experience to students when it comes to summer breaks — they seem to fly by! I usually try to do several things with school. I taught summer school the first two years at PHS; I usually write curriculum in the summer, which I will be doing again this year. I have worked orientation several years. I usually go back to school in August for a week to help distribute novels to classrooms. In general, I try to keep busy. Besides working, I like to spend some time in the sun, reading, with family and friends, and also doing some traveling. This summer will be the same, with more social distancing until things are safe and most likely not much traveling unless things improve with the virus.


TB: What’s the hardest part of teaching?

Ms. B: Teaching is not an easy profession! I spend a lot of time preparing lessons, grading, sending emails, and doing necessary paperwork. I think the hardest part about my job is just figuring out what I can do to best support the different needs of students in my classes. Some approaches work for some students, but not for others. Teaching is experimenting and trying out different methods, and hoping to connect with and motivate students along the way.


TB: What’s the best part of teaching?

Ms. B: The best part of teaching is when students show appreciation and let us know that we really are making a difference in their lives.


TB: What do you miss most now that we’re not at Prep?

Ms. B: I really miss interacting with students and colleagues in person. I am lucky to teach and work with positive, talented people. Although I can still connect with many of them through technology, it is not the same as being around them in person.


TB: What’s the best advice that someone has given you about teaching?

Ms. B: In order to teach, you need to constantly be learning. I have gained insight over my 10 years of teaching from so many people. One piece of advice that comes to mind is that you need to be yourself in front of your students. There are certain things that work for certain teachers that would not work for me. I think that in order to teach effectively, you need to be genuine.


TB: Do you have a favorite childhood memory?

Ms. B: My aunt and uncle have a house down the shore, where my family and I would go often in the summer. I have many happy memories spending time together, barbecuing, going swimming in the pool, watching fireworks, going to the boardwalk or taking walks to the bay. 

Ms. Benedetti said the best part of teaching is when students show their appreciation and show that she makes a difference in their lives. One advice that she has gotten over her last 10 years of teaching is that in order to teach, you need constantly to be learning. 


Thank you Ms. Benedetti!