Sunday, August 28, 2011

In Memory of an Amazing Teacher

In high school I took a class called English Link. This was like the elite advanced class. It ran an entire year (instead of a semester) and was different from any class I've ever had then or since. On any day you would walk in and find the class engaged in a lively debate about any social or political situation. The next day you may walk in and find everyone hurriedly taking notes with novels open across desks. Or you may walk in to a classroom that is dead silent but for the clicking of computer keys as we frantically spit out a paper for the prompt of the day.

John Mitchell taught me how to stop overthinking and just WRITE...and how to make that amazing. He taught me to love literature. I learned The Scarlet Letter, Moby Dick, and read enough poetry to make my brain explode. I learned how to look for symbolism in a seemingly boring passage. However, the most important thing that Mr. Mitchell taught all of us was how to think for ourselves.

I remember one of the first weeks in class he asked one student after another "Do you believe in God?" When the student answered in the affirmative he followed up with "Why?" The other interesting question he asked involved sin. "Do you avoid sinning because you want to go to Heaven or because you don't want to go to Hell?" For a bunch of juniors in high school these were questions that caused a lot of thought. That's when I knew that this class was different.

I could go on forever about this class (I took it for 2 years). The reason is because (that was for you Mr. Mitchell!) it made an impact on me as a person as much as a student.

Mr. Mitchell, I'm sorry you never got to see the woman that I became. I'm sorry you never got to meet my family. I hope that I've made you proud.

And now, for my fellow Mitchell Children, I give you "Mitchell Quotes"

- I feel like a prostitute giving you these grades.
- Y'all are going to have to be quiet and loud.
- Oh God, we're going to talk about penis!!!
- I can't hear you. Shut up please. Thank you much!
- Hello. Shut up. Pay attention.
- Some of you that aren't paying attention are the same idiots that are going to ask the same stupid question and I'm not going to talk to you. I'm just going to stick out my tongue and go "BLAH."
- Two things I am not: I am not nice and I am not fair.
- I guarantee this is going to come up in your life and you're going to look like idiots and it's not going to be my fault.
- Bravery and stupidity kind of go hand in hand with that.
- We don't peepee on Mitchell's papers.
- If I went to that I would be like the bastard at a family reunion.
- "Has anyone told you that you look like Sean Connery?" "Yes, and Tom Cruise." *laughter* "Why are you laughing?)
- Why are you talking? I'm talking, but I can because I'm old. You can't, you're young. Shut up.
- If your agreement had been better I probably would have danced naked on the schoolhouse
- You can't do stuff with the girls. Especially after you've baptized them and gotten them all wet.
- "Any of you other slackers that find Moby Dick bring it back." "That was mean." *pause* *cheerful tone* "Any of you other slackers..."
- God I'm cute!!!
- Do unto others before they get a chance to do unto you.
- Schools are the worst places in the world to get an education.
- Heart doesn't mean kindness. It's a big, black heart.
- When I make any sort of noise you shut up.
- I'm just up here giving pills out...I'm the candy man!
- If you don't shut up I'm going to take the jawbone of an ass and beat you to death with it. And I won't have to look very far.
- Just smile and say "Yes Mr. Mitchell, I live to do you favors."
- Everything about me is cute...and I'm good looking.
- It's like the second coming, you never know when that test is going to hit you.
- Quick *clap* like a bunny rabbit!
- Up with this I will not put!
- Ideas were good. The writing.......sucked.
- If any of you fail the TAKS test I will personally oversee your death.
- Does this look like the face of someone that's afraid of a feisty child?
- I'd get a front row seat in hell if that were true.
- "Oh my God." "I'm just your English teacher."
- Somebody here did it and I just went WEE all over the place.
- How do you function if you haven't read Moby Dick? *laughter* Why are you laughing?!?
- There's nothing slow about Mr. Mitchell.


  1. How thoughtful :) I often think about my time in school and feel like I never appreciated the people who genuinely tried to help. Many of the teachers who I want to thank are no longer at my high school, so I'm not able to say it in person - but I hope they know that some of their students appreciate their work.

    xoxo, Nali

  2. I just realized your blogger profile says you live in San Antonio. I'm from San Antonio! I live in Wisconsin now, but visit often (my parents live there). So cool to find a fellow San Antonian!



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