SPRINGFIELD, NJ - After 32 years in the Springfield School district, Felix Fabiano is retiring. He will be leaving from teaching after this year's graduation ceremonies.
The long-time Jonathan Dayton Italian teacher also coached the boys' soccer and bowling teams during his time at the school. Before retiring, Fabiano spoke with TAPinto Springfield for an exclusive interview.
For Fabiano, when asked about his favorite moment during his teaching career, he said there was not one singular instance he could pinpoint, but the whole time itself was enjoyable.
"Every day is a holiday," Fabiano said. "Every meal is a feast, and that was Dayton for 32 years. Not one particular day, the whole thing was just a blast."
Along with his tenure in Jonathan Dayton boys' soccer and bowling, Fabiano also coached the wrestling team for a time, before they integrated into David Brearly's program.
"It's all about having contact with students, seeing them grow and seeing them learn," Fabiano said. "But as you do that, you learn a lot about yourself and you appreciate that contact. But it's all about educating, which means the growth from adolescence to manhood."
Fabiano added, "you see that going on year in and year out and it's a pleasure really."
When it came to teaching, for Fabiano, it was never about the grades or the school work. For him, the joy in teaching was derived from watching the next generation of students become leaders.
"In teaching, most of the time, you see a deferation [sic] of your work," he said. "Not right there with the giving an A or giving a B, but later on...all of the sudden, you see [your students] became somebody. Not just me alone, but all the teachers together molding someone, and you see that later on in your life, and it's really a pleasure to see that."
As he continued, he said that sometimes, even after three decades in the district, the impact of what he has done and meant to Springfield only truly hits him when he sees a former student.
"For me, it's always a pleasure, but you don't know what you did for them," he said. "For example, just recently a student came to see me and to be honest, I remember just a little bit [about him]. He, on the other hand, said, 'you were like a brother to me.' It's the things that you don't see as a teacher, you do things because you like it."
Finally, when asked about what message he would impart as he rode off into retirement, Fabiano simply said that during he tenure at Jonathan Dayton, he derived joy from the process of teaching and the results he saw years or even decades later.
"The advice I give to people is if you want to be a teacher, you have to enjoy it," Fabiano said. "It's not just any other job. You deal with kids day in and day out, so when these kids tell me I was like a brother to them, I was thinking in my mind 'what did I do?' But he kept on remembering little things that at that particular time was just things that I do every day. But for [them] it meant something."