Good Talk: Ms. Tallerico

Meet the English teacher who loves to scuba dive in her free time and even swim with the sharks!

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photo by Abby Pingpank

Abby Pingpank, News Editor

What inspired you to be an English teacher?

My high school English teacher, Dr. Mann. She was hands-down the best teacher I ever had.  She cared so deeply about her students and her classroom was always a safe, interesting, and fun environment. She introduced me to some of my favorite authors, poems, and novels. Also, she gave the best life advice and was so easy to talk to.  While I did not pursue teaching directly after college, Dr. Mann reminded me how important it is to always follow your dreams, which is why I went back to school to earn my teaching degree.

What is your favorite book? Why?

I know it’s cliched, but I love the Harry Potter series. I reread them every other summer and I am always able to find something new and exciting each time I read them. The series came out at such a pivotal point in my childhood, and it really allowed me to escape into an entirely different world.

What is your favorite restaurant in Pittsburgh?

This is such a tough question — there are so many good ones! If I had to choose just one, I’d say Noodlehead in Shadyside. My husband and I were on a roll there for a few months where we went every single week.

I know you’re into scuba diving.  What got you into the sport, and what is the coolest place you have gone diving?

My father-in-law is an avid scuba diver, so for our engagement gift, he paid for my husband and me to become certified.  I was hesitant to try it at first because open water and sharks were two of my biggest fears.  However, now I always hope to see a shark every time I dive!  Scuba diving has given me such a better appreciation for wildlife. My favorite place to scuba dive is Honaunau Bay off the Kona Coast in Hawaii.

How is your first year as a teacher at North Allegheny during COVID-19?

It has been a whirlwind to say the least! Hybrid teaching presents new challenges every day.  However, there are so many great moments throughout the day that it makes it all worth it.  I am so impressed by the determination and resiliency of our students.  I would not want to teach during a pandemic anywhere else!

What are your dogs’ names? What breeds are they?

Clyde and Maebe. Clyde is a Treeing Walker Coonhound. He looks like a very tall, 80-pound beagle. Maebe is an Aussie Shepard/Husky mix. He’s 12, but he still looks and acts like a puppy.

What is your favorite unit to teach? Why?

I absolutely love teaching Shakespeare. It’s not the easiest topic to teach, and it presents many challenges with the difficult language. However, I love being able to bring the text to life.  Because the text can be difficult, it means so much more to me when it finally clicks with the students. Shakespeare teaches us so much about humanity and ourselves — the messages and themes are so important.

What is your favorite thing about NASH so far?

The students and the staff.  The students are all so kind!  Everyone says “thank you” or “have a good day” at the end of the class period, which is something I am not used to. It makes me so happy.  Also, the staff has made me feel so welcomed and supported since day one. There is such a great sense of community at NASH.

What is the biggest difference between NASH and your old school?

For starters, the size. My last school was grades 6-12, and it had around 600-700 students in the entire building. The access to technology is also something I didn’t have at my old school.  I feel so lucky to have access to such great technological tools in the classroom here at NASH.

Do you have any favorite TV shows or movies?

So many! I enjoy such a wide array of television. If I had to choose a few favorite shows, I’d say Parks and Rec, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Grey’s Anatomy, and The Bachelor/Bachelorette. As far as movies go, I love Mean Girls and any Christmas movie.

What are you most looking forward to this school year? 

I am most looking forward to building relationships and forming bonds with my students. They are the absolute best part about this job.