Teacher of the Month: Ms. Tramantozzi Reply

Where did you grow up?

Yonkers, NY.

Have you always been interested in art?

I think even when I was very young, I always really liked drawing and I always liked making things (like projects or anything that I could make); but I think I began to think seriously about it in high school when I started getting positive feedback. I started to get recognized for doing art from my friends, some teachers, and my dad. I didn’t think that it could be something I could pursue in my life until someone said that I could. I didn’t even know that it was a major in school because I didn’t have it in high school. It definitely came from people’s encouragement (like from my friends and family).

What made you enjoy art making so much?

I don’t think I ever had to think about that, but I think that when I discovered that it could be a language that I could use to communicate that was different than words, art became more interesting for me. So, I might have been shy when I was younger, and having this other language to express myself was something that was very interesting to me. Then when I learned about other artists and saw the ways that they would express themselves that were different from me, that caused me to become more and more interested.

What other subjects were you strong in or did you enjoy?

I really liked creative writing in high school. I definitely remember being in the environmental club, so environmental issues were really interesting to me. In terms of a subject, I think that there were aspects of many subjects that were interesting to me but I don’t know if I had a particular subject that I was strong in. Other than art, I can’t remember one that I was really good at. Sometimes I was better at one than another, but every subject had different aspects to it that were interesting to me and so sometimes I’d be stronger depending on the year or depending on the topic. Overall, I think I was stronger in English than any of my other subjects.

Describe your high school self.

My high school self was much shyer than I am now. I was very shy. I also was very interested in making connections with people but I didn’t actually know how to do it well. I was a pretty good listener. I was interested in psychology and briefly thought about it, but that was something that was interesting to me as a subject. Again, I didn’t have as many resources as you do here and so I didn’t know enough about it, but I think I did take some psychology classes in art school as they related to art and that was really interesting to me.

What college did you attend?

For my undergraduate, I attended Purchase College in the fine art department. For my graduate work, I went to Pratt Institute.

What other interests do you have?

I like cooking. I’ve been very busy these days so I don’t know that I have a lot of time for anything other than cooking and art making, and sometimes I don’t have time for those. Yoga was another hobby.

What was your dream job as a child?

I just wanted to be a famous artist. I don’t really want that anymore but I think I wanted that then. I also had a grandfather who was an artist as well and wanted that for himself so I think that was already in my head as a child.

What other occupations did you have before this?

I was a textile designer. I also used to show some work in nonprofit galleries and stuff like that.

What is one experience in your life that has changed you into the person you are today?

I think one of the things that shaped me in terms of thinking was going from high school to college because, in high school, I went to a very small and restrictive school where they didn’t actually offer a lot of art and music. It was very focused on academics and we didn’t have a lot of clubs. It also wasn’t a very open-minded school and so when I went to college, it was the opposite. They offered lots of classes in arts and music and dance. People came from all different backgrounds so it was much more diverse, and I felt that it just opened up my thinking a lot, creatively and also about the world. I felt very free.

What do you think about the students in this school?

I think they’re all very sweet. I think all the students have been really warm and receptive to my teaching style and to me being a new teacher in the school. It’s been really great.

What’s one thing you like about this school?

I feel that the teachers here are really smart and I think that makes it very easy to do my job and feel good about being here. I also very much like that we’re all on the same page in terms of encouraging students to come up with their own ideas because that’s very important to me, for people to see their own potentials and also find their own path.

What’s one thing that you dislike about this school, if anything?

I don’t think I’ve been here long enough to have a thing I dislike about this school.

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