Teacher Feature: Mr. Raiteri of the Math Department

Brendan Davis, Staff Writer

For this issue’s Teacher Feature article we have chosen Mr. Matthew Raiteri, who is a math teacher here at Falls Church High School. I sat down with Mr. Raiteri to ask him about his teaching career and life in general.
How long have you been teaching?
“This is actually just my second year teaching. After finishing college I stayed home with my kids until they were ready to start going to school.”
How would you describe your teaching style?
“I do my best to keep the material interesting. I always put thought into how to explain things concisely and clearly and not race through material. I like to encourage students to work together and try explaining things to each other. I think most of the time a classroom works best with a healthy back and forth between students and teachers.”
What made you want to become a high school teacher or just a teacher in general?
“I made the decision to teach math a long time ago. There are a few math teachers that had a huge impact on me. Sometime around seventh or eighth grade I got very interested in math and science and how things work. My seventh grade math teacher, Mrs. Rickettes was amazing and made class super fun. By the time I was in Ms. Petrocelli’s Geometry class in tenth grade I was completely hooked. Those experiences have really stuck with me and I thought it would be great to try and do for others what those amazing teachers did for me.” What do you get out of teaching? “I really enjoy those moments where I get to witness students really start to understand a new concept. I’ve had a couple students tell me that they like math a lot more than they did before being in my class, and that has been amazingly satisfying. I think most of the things I asked students to do in my class are very achievable for almost every student, but I always emphasize to students that developing skills in math just takes practice. Just like playing soccer or baseball, you won’t ever get really good at math unless you are willing to put in a little work.”
How was your life before teaching?
“Probably not what most people would expect. I wasn’t a great student in school growing up and I didn’t start college until I was already in my late twenties. I did various things when I was younger, ran a movie theater, played in bands, but mostly just figured out how to support myself and be on my own. Through all of that I was always interested in science and math and knew that college wasn’t too far down the road. It took me a little longer to get there, but college opened up a lot of opportunities for me, and I’m happy with where I ended up. Go Jaguars!”
What do you like to do on your free time normally?
“I love to spend time with my family. My kids, Phineas, Drake and Oliver are all just amazing and super fun to hang out with. I still play guitar and bass from time to time. I like to build stuff and figure out how things work. A few years ago I got interested in finding a way to bring my interest in music and making stuff together taught myself how to build guitar effects from scratch. I had to teach myself how to read circuit diagrams, solder a bunch of tiny parts together, and figure out where you can buy electronics parts for do-it-yourself electronics projects. Along the way I have learned a lot, had lots of fun and made some stuff that I’m really proud of.”
Many thanks to Mr. Raiteri for taking time out of his teaching and busy schedule to talk with us. I hope you’ll be lucky enough to have him as a teacher at some point during your time at FCHS.

Mr. Raiteri is a valuable member of
Falls Church High School’s Math Department.
(Photo by Brendan Davis)