Students greet Charles Salamone in Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School’s library as he walks past with a smile on his face. They chat about one of the many history courses he teaches.
Salamone is in his 50th year of being an educator, and it is clear he does what he loves. He reiterates his mother’s advice to his students.
“Find something you like to do and do it,” Salamone says. “Do a good job, do it right, and don’t ever take yourself too seriously.”
He is the type of teacher who listtens to his students and takes their suggestions into consideration.
“Students have a lot to offer in terms of ideas, interpretations and facts,” Salamone says. “The right way is not necessarily in your textbook or your notes.”
While studying pre-law at The College at Brockport: State University of New York, he took courses from John Killigrew, who had worked for the CIA, and Frank Manno, one of the assistant beach masters on D-Day.
“I came to two realizations: One, the world didn’t need another lawyer, and two, I had two professors in college, both for history, who really made a student out of me. I always try to follow their lead,” says Salamone.
Salamone received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in history and education. He began his career in 1964 at Washington Irving School in Gates, N.Y., where he taught fourth- and fifth-graders.
After he received his master’s in 1967, Salamone taught at Monroe Community College in Rochester, N.Y. He taught U.S. government, international relations, diplomacy and criminal justice throughout his 30-year career at the college.
“I learned history by doing research, and now I just Google it and it’s there in three seconds,” Salamone says. “Before, you went to a card catalog and you read the book.”
Salamone retired in June 1996 and moved to The Meadows in Sarasota. He traveled around the world for five years before returning to teaching.
“I felt my brain turning to oatmeal,” he says.
Salamone began teaching at Cardinal Mooney in 2001, and, although the technological classroom tools have changed, he still keeps his method of teaching the same. He gives students different scenarios of current events.
Asked if he will ever stop teaching Salamone replies, “To me, teaching is a life activity.”