CLEARWATER, Fla. — Vickie Tarantino has been teaching 5th grade at Eisenhower Elementary in Clearwater for 32 years.
- Vickie Tarantino is this week's A+ Teacher
- Tarantino tells her students: "You can walk out. But I will always come after you"
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And she has been privileged to watch amazing transformations.
"There couldn't be a better pay off than to watch a child who comes into your room in August," Tarantino said. "And watch the growth they make by the end of the year."
Bailyn Hagadone, a 5th grader in Tarantino's current class, is a great example.
Hagadone's behavior, attitude and grades were so bad, she literally sneaked out of Tarantino's class and tried to run home.
That is until Tarantino went after her.
"She's just the best teacher that I've had," Hagadone said. "I just thought about how disappointed and sad she would be. If it was not her I would have just kept walking to my house."
Tarantino let Hagadone - and all her students - know: "You can walk out. But you know, I will always come after you and I told my kids that."
Hagadone is now an A student and said that moment changed her life.
"Ms. Tarantino took a chance on me and I am a better student because of her," Hagadone wrote in a letter nominating Tarantino for the A+ Teacher award.
"Honestly, all you have to do is set the expectation and the kids grow to that," Tarantino said. "And that's all I did."
No wonder her kids call Tarantino their favorite teacher.