Teachers & Nurses Appreciation
Teachers and nurses: We are in awe of you. Though we’ve always known how special you are, this time in our lives has showcased to the entire world that we have you to thank for so much of the happiness, good health and success in our lives. No amount of gratitude truly covers it, you are the most valuable players!!
In honor of both National Nurses Week and Teacher Appreciation Week, we are excited to spotlight a few members of our team who work tirelessly and passionately in both of these fields, and we are immensely grateful to call them our dear friends. Read on to learn more about each of them and find out their answers to some questions we had! 🙂
Matt Uzenski has been a member of our instructor team since 2015. He is also a rockstar dad, husband, runner, and teacher! He teaches 7th and 8th grade math.
Natalie Spencer works the front desk at the North Station studio. When she isn’t at the HB, Natalie teaches fifth grade, the last year of elementary school! She teaches all subjects.
Nora Letender works the front desk at our Southie studio. She is also a health-care hero, currently working as a nurse on a rehab floor of a long term care/skilled nursing facility.
Carmen Darocha teaches both cycle and MOVE at the HB! When she isn’t sweating it out with us, Carmen is a certified pediatric nurse practitioner (CPNP). She has been practicing as a registered nurse since 2010 and obtained her Masters in Nursing in 2014. She always worked with the pediatric population and can’t imagine working with any other group of amazing little humans.
Rebecca Siegert works the front desk at the North Station studio. She is just one semester and a board exam away from being a registered nurse! She doesn’t know what field she’ll end up in yet, but she has been enjoying working in both the ED and at Boston Hope during this pandemic.
What is your favorite teacher quote?
Matt: When students share their work under the projector and get a question correct I offer to draw a check, star, or smiley face on their work as a positive reward. I shortened it up just a little bit to “Check, star, smiley.” My stars are not very good!
Natalie: “Don’t stress, do your best, forget the rest!” -We say it before every test/quiz!
Day shift or night shift?
Nora: Day shift, I need a normal sleep schedule! Although I do work 3-11 now.
Carmen: When I was working as a staff nurse at Boston Children’s Hospital on an inpatient surgical floor I was a night nurse through and through! I loved the camaraderie that developed in the middle of the night especially as there was much less staff around to lean on. Now as a nurse practitioner I work at a traditional dayshift in the clinic, but oftentimes miss the middle of the night craziness that can only happen at 3am while working in a hospital setting!
Rebecca: I have been working a mix of days and nights. I’ve figured out so far that I enjoy starting work at night rather than waking up so early!
What’s the most rewarding part about your job?
Matt: When you see a student that was struggling with a problem or a concept have their “aha moment” and they are super pumped up.
Natalie: Being able to connect with kids on a personal level and make a lasting connection. I still talk to my students and students and parents from years past.
Nora: Pre-COVID, it was seeing patients often get stronger and be able to go home to their families! Now, a rewarding part is being with patients during a very difficult time and watching many of them recover and get stronger day by day!
Carmen: It might seem minor but I feel that the most rewarding thing about my job has to be seeing patients for routine physicals and watching them grow right before my eyes! I love seeing newborns then following their growth over the following months to see how they grow. To see their personalities flourish is so wonderful! Meeting a family and establishing a connection with the family is also a wonderful part of my job.
Rebecca: Leaving work knowing that I played my part in the healthcare of my patients is rewarding for me.
What’s been the most challenging part of your job during this time?
Matt: Balancing taking care of my toddler daughter while trying to juggle all the very important tasks of distance teaching and learning.
Natalie: It has been a huge adjustment to remote learning.
Nora: Uncertainty about this disease process and how it is affecting every person differently, and having patients be unable to see their families in person.
Rebecca: Wearing all of the PPE can get very hot! But more than that, knowing that many of these patients have been isolated from their loved ones for so long during their hospitalization has been difficult to see. I try to spend time in conversation with my patients, when possible, just to act as a friend and bring some relief to their situation.
Do you have any funny or unusual experience you’d like to share that’s happened during this quarantine time?
Matt: Our middle school team hosted a virtual middle school dance party to give students something to look forward to. Most students didn’t turn their screens on for a portion of the dance party, but to break the ice, I had to break out some classic Matt Uzenski dance moves. Also, this Friday I am hosting a “Cutting Mr. Uzenski’s Hair Trivia” where students answer trivia questions and students that respond correctly get to decide which way I will buzz it next ( I might post a pic or video of this on Instagram!)
Natalie: There have been a lot of unusual/funny things about it! From seeing my kids in bed in their p.j.s , to having to teach to a student whose whole family is listening on the other side, to students asking me to go to the bathroom in their own house, it has been an adjustment for all!
Rebecca: Unrelated to my nursing role… my parents got a new puppy a few weeks into quarantine! I cannot wait for this quarantine to end so I can visit the pup and my parents of course!
Who or what do you call on for support and TLC?
Matt: My wife and daughter are extreme sources of motivation and love for me during this time!
Natalie: I always go to my sister Alex for advice because she is a rockstar teacher in Cambridge!
Carmen: Absolutely without a doubt I count on my partner and crime, David DaRocha for every and all things. As my husband, I feel that he has been very intimately a part of this pandemic crisis with me. He knows how to peel me off the wall when I am stressed, and he knows exactly how to make me laugh if I am feeling down about something. He is absolutely vital to me during these strange times and I am so lucky to have him by my side.
Nora: My mom who is also a nurse, and my friends who are the best support system via FaceTime and Zoom!
Rebecca: I call my mom when I travel home from most of my shifts. She helps me debrief after a long 12 hrs, whether it’s 7am or 7pm. I’m also lucky to have friends and family who enjoy zoom conference calls. When all else fails, a warm chocolate chip cookie and Netflix do the trick!