Degrees and Certifications:
Texas State University: Secondary Teacher Certification; graduate coursework in history State University of New York at New Paltz: BA Journalism / BA Political Science
Mr. Richard Restaino
Welcome Mr. Restaino's class website.
The beginning of the 2020-21 school year will certainly be a new adventure for all of us, but we have been working hard to make sure that our distance learning is as engaging, thorough, and effective as it can be. I certainly wish that we would be able to meet in person, but we have strategies for new ways to get to know one another in the virtual world.
A bit about me: I teach AP Language and Composition and English III. I have been on staff at Elgin High School since 2008, teaching English I, II, and III, as well as Pre-AP English II. I am also certified to teach social studies and journalism. I see history and literature as being intertwined. You cannot fully appreciate or understand a piece of writing without also knowing something about the context in which it was written.
Prior to teaching, I worked as a newspaper reporter and editor. I am a New Yorker by birth and an adopted Texan by choice. I am married to EHS teacher Elizabeth Ivey Restaino. I enjoy writing, recording, and performing music, reading, travel, time with family and friends, and playing with our dogs Willy and Loretta. I'm also a grudgingly-willing servant of our cat, Dolemite.
My goal as an educator to help my students to become more independent, lifelong learners. This begins by asking students to start every unit of study from a place of personal curiosity. I have high expectations for participation and run class with structure, yet there is still plenty of room for open-ended questions and exploration. This is English-Language Arts. Therefore, students should expect to:
Read: We emphasize strategies for close reading and analysis of text, but also emphasize the pleasure of escape offered by reading, as well as work to develop appreciation for the beauty and utility of language.
Talk: We discuss ideas raised in texts, students' reactions and interpretations, and practice debating thoughtfully and respectfully. We often first begin to understand what we know and don't know about something by talking about it. In my class, there is no shame in not knowing something. All great things begin with asking a question.
Write: We pick apart the mechanics of writing, from grammar basics to complex research papers. We practice revising, editing, and rewriting. We also reinforce the idea that, while not all students will write for a living, the importance of clearly expressing one's self in writing is an essential and rewarding practice.
My classroom rules are borrowed from the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP). They are straight-forward, but that does not mean they are always easy to follow. However, if all us make our best effort to live them, we will look forward to our time together in class:
Work hard. We all have our academic strengths and weaknesses. We do not have a choice about natural ability. However, all of us have a choice about whether or not we try our best at any given task. Having a lack of talent but a strong work ethic will serve you much better in life than having all the talent in the world and choosing to be lazy.
Be nice. The "Golden Rule" says that we are to treat others the way that we wish to be treated. It has a long history, dating back as far as the earliest known written charter of law, Hammurabi's Code (1780, BCE). It is the foundation for all human rights law and is present in all of the world's major religions. It has not been improved upon as an ethical basis of how to behave.
If you are ever need information about class assignments, or if you have any other questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.