Nicole Biscotti is proud to be an educator and believes that everyone should have access to a quality education that connects them with their purpose. She seeks to bridge understanding, spark conversations, and inspire through her writing. Nicole is writing a book with her 9-year-old son from the unique perspectives of a child and a mother who is also a teacher.
Your background – where you grew up
I grew up in between New York City and Phoenix, Arizona. My parents divorced when I was little and my childhood was filled with a lot of instability and chaos. I moved a lot, had a few different living situations, and the setting and the characters changed frequently. I see myself in a lot of the kids that I teach that are struggling with instability at home while they deal with the challenges of being a teenager.
What it was like for you as a student
I was a mostly introverted kid with pretty low self-esteem who didn’t think that what I thought or felt mattered much. I escaped the chaos around me by reading in my bedroom most of the time. I was very disconnected and didn’t do well in school until I went to live with my dad in high school. I remember that in the 7th grade I was failing Reading Class, partly because I had not filled out even one book report. My mother made me document all that I had read that year and I had, in fact, read 114 books. Looking back I marvel at how disconnected I was to not even think about filling out the form and getting credit for doing that in my class. When I went to live with my dad in high school, I saw this change as a new start. My father had very high expectations of me and I really wanted to please him. I pretty much changed overnight into an Honors student.
Your family – your children
I have raised my children largely alone, without a lot of economic resources. I have 4 children: my oldest is Nicholas who is 19, he makes me proud every day with his diligence and accomplishments. I have twin girls that are physically identical to each other and pretty much to me. They are 10. Their names are Rose and Julia. Rosie is a great writer and very artistic and Julia is bright and joyful and loves horses. Jason is 9 and is a Math wiz who loves to play soccer.
I believe in education and am convinced that education provides us with opportunities. Nicholas graduated from a Title 1 high school and is currently on his way to becoming an Officer in the United States Marines through an ROTC scholarship. Nicholas has talent as we all do, and he has worked hard. I believe that the difference between my son and many other kids (including my younger self) is that he (a) found his purpose and (b) had support. We live in a place and time that is full of opportunities yet kids are struggling. We need to address these gaps in education to ensure that each and every child has the support that they need to succeed.
WHY you went into education
At 38 years old I had the opportunity to start over. I chose education because I wanted to spend my time and energy on something that I perceived as important and could make a difference in people’s lives.
I teach Spanish but my commitment to kids only begins at promoting bilingualism. The need that I see every day is so great that I cannot stop at being a Spanish Teacher. Kids are struggling with mental health issues, disabilities, family situations, and the confusion of being a kid. I organized a student-led leadership group on campus to address the lack of connection and to encourage kids to offer peer support. Our group was amazing and I’m proud to say that many of the kids that participated were not your typical student leaders but rather kids that were struggling themselves. We received a state award and the news came to our school. I cannot tell you how proud the kids were. My work is to continue to support kids, spark conversations, and to bridge understanding, as a teacher and a writer.
My youngest son, Jason, has ADHD and was basically expelled from kindergarten. I’ll be honest, I had no idea how to relate to Jason’s challenging behavior. I was a mostly compliant child, at least on the surface. I was quiet and did not want to draw attention to myself from adults because I was very intimidated and had low self-esteem. I was also able to do well in school with little effort. I tried very hard to not make adults mad.
Jason’s Message to Teachers about Kids with ADHD
Why you and Jason are writing his story
How many Jason’s are out there without guidance and support? I barely knew how to help him and I’m a teacher. Jason has ADHD and Oppositional Disorder. I am close to finishing my second Master’s Degree in Education and I can tell you with all honesty that I was not prepared in any way to support kids with ADHD. I know that parents are struggling and that teachers are overwhelmed, and what tugs at my heart the most is that I know that there are little ones like my son that are hurting, scared, and feeling rejected. We have to start talking honestly about ADHD and inclusion and how to best support everyone involved. It is simply unacceptable to know that there is a suspension to prison pipeline and to know that ADHD kids are disproportionately affected and not increase our efforts. In writing Jason’s story, I am not only attempting to help other children, but I am also validating my son’s voice as well.
Nicole Biscotti is proud to be an educator and believes that everyone should have access to a quality education that connects them with their purpose. She seeks to bridge understanding, spark conversations, and inspire through her writing.
She is writing a book with her 9-year-old son from the unique perspectives of a child and a mother who is also a teacher. She has seen both personally and professionally how children struggle to be understood and how adults are often at a loss with how to handle the difficult behaviors associated with ADHD. She hopes that by sharing her and her son’s story, along with researched-based strategies, educators and parents will benefit from others’ perspectives, communication will increase, and adults will be better equipped to help children who desperately need our support.
Nicole and her family live in Phoenix, Arizona and enjoy barbecues and road trips to Mexico. She is originally from New York City where she gained a love of culture and travel. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish from the University of Florida and a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education from the University of Phoenix. She is currently a Spanish Teacher and World Languages Department Chair in a public high school. She is a certified Translator & Interpreter as well.
For all of the Rethinking Learning podcasts with Barbara Bray, click on the podcast tab at the top, the logo below, or go to https://barbarabray.net/podcasts/
Go to this page for more information about Barbara’s new book, Define Your WHY.