The inspirational Sunderland teacher working tirelessly to support her students through covid pandemic despite battling leukemia

An inspirational teacher who has worked tirelessly to support her students through the pandemic despite fighting her own battle with leukemia is looking forward to schools reopening next week.

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 6:00 am
Monica Pizzoli, a teacher at Sunderland College's Washington Campus
Monica Pizzoli, a teacher at Sunderland College's Washington Campus

Monica Pizzoli, a teacher at the Washington Campus of Sunderland College, has been determined not to let her illness get the better of her as she works to ensure her students get the education and support they need.

She was diagnosed with leukemia in 2019, but took just three weeks off work so she could continue supporting her students.

As the coronavirus pandemic took hold, education across the country has been severely affected, but Monica refused to let her students be disadvantaged, working hard to ensure they didn’t miss out while working from home.

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“It’s been very difficult during the pandemic for everyone. Teaching online is a challenge and you really have to think outside the box,” she said.

“Schools and colleges reopening (on March 8) is definitely a good thing. We are social creatures and we need each other.”

Monica, who is from Central Italy, moved to Sunderland in the 1990s and joined Sunderland College nine years ago, teaching a variety of subjects to older students.

After being diagnosed with leukemia, Monica, who is in her late 40s, said she has stayed positive and refused to let the illness be a barrier to her living life.

“We all carry something and I believe you’ve just got to have the strength to go forward. My students inspire me to keep going,” she said.

“I knew leukemia could take my health but I didn’t want it to take my life. Thanks to the brilliant people at the hospital I’m doing very well now. We’re very lucky to have the NHS.”

After receiving regular medication for leukemia, Monica has bravely battled against the illness to overcome it and believes that community spirit is vital now, more than ever.

“Supporting each other is the number one thing right now. We have to be kind to each other. I believe in the power of the community and that’s why I love the North East,” she said.

"I’m an adopted Sunderland girl.”

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