Barbara is grateful to have had the support of the Program in Teacher Prep over the last several years and still enjoys being a part of the program’s community. She is so happy to be able to share her experiences and learn from other teachers that she meets through Teacher Prep.
Barbara Calanog Fortunato '98
In teaching and education, we’re always looking for that quick fix. But teaching is an investment of energy.
After graduating from Princeton in 1998, Barbara Fortunato worked as a technical consultant in Manhattan building large scale computer systems for investment banks. After the events of September 11th, Barbara decided that she wanted to pursue a career which she would find more rewarding where she would have an opportunity to touch many young people’s lives in a more direct way. As a result of soul searching, she returned to Princeton’s Program in Teacher Preparation (Teacher Prep) to earn teaching certification. In her first few years of teaching, what surprised Barbara most is that she found teaching even more challenging and fulfilling than she had ever imagined it would be. She also has found that the diversity of skills and knowledge required to teach successfully keeps the job interesting. Barbara has dedicated herself to not only teaching the subject matter effectively, but also to developing her students as moral, educated, and inquisitive global citizens. Although at times she finds teaching extremely demanding and even emotionally draining, the reward of seeing students flourish and reach their highest potential makes the job extremely worthwhile.
Since receiving her certification in physics with Teacher Prep in 2007, Barbara is now a fourth year teacher at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South. She loves the challenge of teaching Honors Physics to juniors and seniors. She also enjoys teaching an inclusion class called Oceanography and Meteorology to freshmen and sophomores, which allows her to use her creativity in tying basic physical science concepts to the hands-on study of the ocean and weather. Recently, she and her students at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South built Solar Suitcase systems with We Care Solar. These Solar Suitcases are now lighting 6 orphanage homes, with ten children each and with a "mother" in Kabale, Uganda.
Barbara has remained active with Teacher Prep in many of their endeavors. As part of the Princeton University Preparatory Program (PUPP), she has taught a summer enrichment physics course to high-achieving low-income students from Trenton, Ewing, and Princeton. Barbara was awed by how talented these students were and loved seeing how having fun with physics made the students more confident in entering their senior year in high school. More recently, she has coordinated the QUEST Scholars Program. During this five-week summer program, Barbara taught new math and science teachers how to enhance their teaching with the use of inquiry-based techniques. Barbara was inspired by the new teachers’ enthusiasm and loved collaborating with them to help improve classroom effectiveness. Barbara also has enjoyed talking to future teachers about what to expect in their first year teaching in Teacher Prep’s Seminar on Student Learning and Methods and is excited to share her tips on "Communicating with Parents” in a Teacher Prep video stream this month.