Kristana Reitz, a science teacher at St. James Cathedral School, incorporates the latest technology and exciting hands-on projects to engage her students in the classroom. Learn more about her experience throughout her 20 years of teaching:
What did you want to be when you were little?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a teacher. I used to play school with my younger sisters, and they would play my students. If I wasn’t playing school, I was dancing. I thought of being a ballet dancer too.
Tell us about your journey to becoming a teacher.
When I was in high school, I had an opportunity to volunteer with children, and that started my real interest in working with children. I come from a long line of teachers. My grandmother was a third-grade teacher at St. Andrews Catholic School, and my father was the band director at Bishop Moore Catholic High School. I’ve had the awesome pleasure of teaching the children of former students of my grandmother and father on multiple occasions.
How do you engage your students in the learning experience?
I enjoy using multiple ways to engage my students. We like to read and discuss our topic, and then answer questions about that topic in an open forum. However, I love to incorporate technology and hands-on science centers and experiments in my lessons in order to reach all learners in my classroom.
What’s your favorite thing about teaching science?
My favorite thing about teaching science is that “light bulb” moment, where I can see the excitement in my students’ faces when they’ve learned something new and understand a complicated concept that had them confused in the past. My other favorite moment is when the students have a “mind-blowing” experience when they’ve learned something interesting in science. The excitement is so infectious in my classes!
What’s your favorite concept to teach?
I think my favorite concept to teach is astronomy. I love teaching them about our solar system and the universe. They typically have a “mind-blowing” experience when they realize how huge our universe is and how small we are in perspective.
How does your past professional experience affect your approach to teaching now?
As I finish my 20th year of teaching, I have learned so much along the way. What I’ve learned most is that if I keep my lessons interesting for both the children as well as myself, this helps keep behavior issues to a minimum. There’s a definite understanding between my students and that I have high expectations for both their behavior and participation, for which I hold them accountable.
What is the most rewarding thing about your job?
The most rewarding thing is the joy I see in my students when they have learned something new. When they get excited about a topic and want to learn more, that is more rewarding than anything else. When I have students tell me how much they enjoy science class, that fills me with pure joy.
What do you enjoy about teaching at St. James?
I love the community of students, parents, and teachers. We work together in a safe and loving environment. We are a family here at St. James.
What do you hope your students take away from being in your classroom?
It is my hope that they take away a new interest and enjoyment of science that they didn’t have before and have lasting experiences that they’ll always remember.
Get to Know Kristana Reitz
Q: What do you like to do for fun?
A: I love to participate in races around Central Florida to help raise money for worthy causes. I love to spend time with my family watching sports and attending games.
Q: What’s your favorite book?
A: I love to read the Series of Unfortunate Events books to my students. Reading to my students is a great joy of mine. I love when they are inspired to read more of the series after I’ve read a few of the books.
Q: Favorite place that you’ve traveled or place you hope to travel?
A: Favorite place I’ve traveled to is to the country of Sweden when I was a teenager. I hope to travel to Greece and Australia someday in the future.
Q: If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A: Definitely cheese…hands down!
Q: Do you have any hidden talents?
A: I played the flute when I was in high school and college, and still play from time to time.
For more than 50 years, Orlando private schools have been helping children grow to their fullest potential and become leaders within their communities. We offer unique and dynamic learning environments that engage students and encourage them to become confident and responsible adults. To learn more about what makes us different, contact us today.