Teacher brings artist’s touch to PCHS
Ending back up at Park City High School is not what Nadia Rea envisioned after she graduated in 2008.
Yet, after getting an art degree from Westminster College in Salt Lake City, she finds herself again roaming the halls of her old stomping grounds after being hired this year as the school’s multimedia and photography teacher.
Rea, a native Spanish speaker, had spent the previous two years working as a translator for students at the junior-high level. And though she had never planned on becoming a teacher, she took a leap of faith when the chance to teach photography opened up.
"It all unfolded in front of me," she said, sitting in her classroom. "I came here and interviewed, then they called me the next day."
Without a teaching background, Rea has been learning on the job since school started. Being thrust into something so new has brought its share of challenges, some as simple as learning how to enter grades into her computer.
"Every now and then it’s a bit awkward, but I have a lot of support here," she said. "It’s really easy to ask questions. At first it was intimidating, but now I do my own thing and make it work. No one’s told me that I’m doing anything wrong."
Despite a whirlwind in her first few months, there is one place Rea has felt comfortable from the beginning — in front of her students. She has discovered that part of being a teacher — the actual teaching — is a natural fit.
"I love being in the classroom," she said. "I love being with my students. I think they’re learning a lot."
Rea credits her ease in the classroom to the passion she brings to photography. She grew up in a creative family and has been an artist as far back as she can remember. And some of her best memories from high school were taking the classes she is now teaching, an experience she hopes to pass on to her students.
"It was so much fun, and there was so much freedom," Rea said. "I came into this environment and made something that mattered to me but didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. It wasn’t stressful. I got ‘A’s’ because I wanted to, but there wasn’t pressure."
Still pursuing an art career in addition to teaching, Rea doesn’t know where the future will take her. But for now, she is happy where she is.
"I go back and forth," Rea said of her future plans. "I can see myself doing this for a while."
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There was a common theme in every address delivered during the Park City High School Class of 2021 graduation ceremony Thursday: gratitude.