By Alison Fitzpatrick
For Bobbie Granato, Wethersfield was always home. Although she never saw herself returning to her home, nevertheless teaching at her old elementary school. Let’s bring it back to the beginning of how Granato got involved in education. She started teaching swim lessons at Mill Woods, those interactions with children are the things that decided it for her. She initially wanted no part of returning to her hometown, applying for a teaching job in Australia, but the economy brought her back.
Throughout the years, she enjoys how much the town has retained its charm and how she still sees so many familiar faces from over the years. In her first year of teaching she started at Highcrest Elementary and taught second grade. She valued teamwork and collaboration among her students “They did say my classroom was too loud… my whole philosophy is that you learn a lot from each other”. With tables instead of desk and believing in the communication of students “I did have some criticism... from a couple of my colleagues, who said kids should sit at desks. And I said ‘That’s not my philosophy.”
With the birth of her first son and raising him, she truly realized the dynamic and collaboration between parent, teacher and child. After she retired as a teacher she felt her “time was more myself”, she stayed involved in the town through Dollars for Scholars and other functions, but what she really enjoyed with her new found time was her love of the game of golf. Being an active member of the Wethersfield Country Club, you can almost always find her on the golf course or in the clubs dining room interacting with old and new friends.
When the town democrats called asking if she would consider running for Board of Education with the affiliation of the party. After taking the weekend to think about it, she decided that she could never leave the thing that was a part of her life for so many years: education. Once elected, she was nominated by her fellow board members as chairperson, mixed feelings of fear and elated took over. With this new position she felt as though she wasn’t in this alone and felt as though she was a member of a team.
In looking into the Wethersfield classroom at a new angle, she sees how much has changed from the more narrow curriculum “I like the curriculum very much, I just wish it would be broader and teachers have more freedom… to enhance it”. She wishes she had all the technology we do today and also had the idea of selected seating in her classroom. A valuable lesson that should be taught in a Wethersfield classroom, or any classroom, is formal interpersonal skills “How to look someone in the eye, how to shake someone’s hand, and I’m talking little ones to big ones. And I think everyone needs to learn that… and it’s a formal way of getting along with people”.