Teacher of the Week: Joanna Mitchell
North Tahoe High School
I had an amazing AP English teacher my senior year in high school who was an inspiration to me. I didn’t really think about [teaching] much until later in college. I got my bachelor’s in English and did “Teach for America” in North Carolina to see if that was what I really wanted to do. I loved it, and I moved out here and got my credential.
Students need to be taught how to be active learners and active participants in their community. Probably the most important thing I can teach them is critical reading – not only how to read, but how to engage and ask questions about what they are reading; not just to accept it as truth. It’s important to make a personal connection with students and to make sure that they know that I care about their success.
My senior AP English teacher Mrs. Mitchell at Council Rock High School outside Philadelphia. She really pushed us to think and to go beyond our comfort level to grow. When I did something really hard and succeeded, it expanded my scope of what I thought I could achieve.
I have the perfect schedule right now. I teach ninth-grade English and twelfth-grade literature, and it is the perfect combination of high-level college thinking and fundamentals with kids who are just starting. I have it really good and I can’t think of what else I would do that could be better.
Prom is huge. Prom and graduation together are the culminating event for the high school experience. You see kids as mature adults in that setting. I don’t really have a ‘favorite’, I just really like seeing kids involved with something that they are passionate about outside of the classroom.
The Sun’s Christine Stanley completed this week’s “Teacher of the Week” and “Student of the Week” interviews. Please send suggestions for future interviews to firstname.lastname@example.org.