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A True Teacher from the Very Beginning

When you walk into Emily DiMatteo's classroom, you'll see a huge bookcase filled with enough books to stock a small library. Instantly, you know you're in an English teacher's classroom. The eighth grade English teacher and K-12 English chair at Country Day has always been a true teacher at heart. 

"I started teaching in 1995 at the age of six in the playroom of my basement," said DiMatteo. "My younger brother, Eric, was a reluctant student, but I had no problem creating – and then completing – my worksheets when he was unavailable. So, all's to say – I've always wanted to be a teacher!" 

Emily attended Summit Country Day School for middle and high school but spent the summer before her senior year of college teaching seventh grade English at Cincinnati Country Day School as part of Breakthrough Cincinnati. She then studied English language and literature and secondary English education at the University of Virginia. 

"I always enjoyed reading and writing as a student. My interest in teaching these subjects intensified during college, and then working and volunteering in various schools in and out around Charlottesville, Virginia," said DiMatteo. 

When she and her family moved back to Cincinnati from Texas four years ago, she knew she wanted to teach here.  

"I jumped at the chance to work, once again, at Country Day! I love the sense of community here. I get to study literature with students, but I also get to run with them at cross country practice and run into them after school as I raise my three Country Day kiddos," said DiMatteo. "Opportunities like CCDX Week give teachers and students a chance to deepen their knowledge and skillsets and interact with each other in different ways. It's a wonderful place to work and a great community to be a part of as a parent and fellow learner." 

Though Emily loves reading, don't ask her to pick what her favorite book is to teach.  

"I fall in love with books by teaching them, so they're all my favorite in some ways," she said. "But I love studying allegories with eighth graders—Animal Farm, The Little Prince, and The Crucible are all past and present favorites, and I'm excited to teach Challenger Deep, a more contemporary allegory about mental health and wellness, next year." 

And her favorite Country Day memory so far? A Shakespearian comedy.  

"My first year at Country Day, I taught Shakespeare's Twelfth Night for the first time. I had taught Shakespeare before, but never his comedies," she said. "I was nervous about how students would respond. Shakespeare's brand of comedy can be challenging to appreciate hundreds of years later. However, we had the opportunity to see the play performed downtown at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. Even though the show was a comedy, I cried halfway through the play. But, of course, these were tears of joy. As I looked around and saw my students laughing and enjoying the play, I couldn't help but shed a few tears and realize how lucky I am to experience moments like these at Country Day."