May 17, 2012

Marine spouse and a Criminal of a teacher

Sgt. Daniel Malta
Desert Warrior Staff
Courtesy photo

Teachers mold our youth and prepare them for their future, which is why it’s important for their hard work to be noticed during this year’s teacher appreciation week.

One of our very own Marine spouses who teaches at Yuma High School, home to the Criminals(mascot), Mrs. Shannon Mitchell, plays a large role in the local community teaching hundreds of kids each year.

Originally from Chicago, Mitchell began teaching in Yuma in 2008 where she currently teaches art and student council. Mitchell comes from a long line of teachers and attributes her passion for teaching to them.

“There are lots of teachers in my family, my mom, three aunts, my grandpa and my great grandma,” said Mitchell. “It has always been something I have been familiar with. When I was younger, after school I would help my mom grade papers and set up her classroom.”

She may be familiar with education, but it’s her values which set her apart from an everyday teacher.

“Being a teacher means guiding students to a better education and further more to a more fulfilling life,” said Mitchell. “It’s being a mentor and a friend all at the same time.”

Also being a Marine spouse, Mitchell is accustomed to working through tough situations. For her, keeping one foot forward is the best way to get through any difficulty that comes with being a Marine spouse.

“It has not been an easy one, but it is doable,” said Mitchell. “Being a teacher keeps me very busy, but I like to stay busy, because it helps me deal with detachments or deployments, which are very frequent.”

Mitchell currently mentors and teaches more than 180 students, and the students couldn’t be happier to have a teacher who cares.

“I call her aunt Shannon,” said Rachel Pallack, student council member. “She knows my interests and, as a student council advisor, she is everywhere all the time. It’s really nice to know she cares.”

With the job market becoming more and more difficult to enter and with nearly 1 million students not graduating a year according to National Public Radio news, teachers who can retain children through graduation are a commodity.

“If you know your teacher is interested in your life, it helps you learn,” said Mitchell. “Because of that interest, you know they care, and it makes you want to meet their expectations.”

Regardless of how tough being a teacher must be, Mitchell thinks it’s what you know and how you adapt to the situation that can make all the difference.

“The most difficult part of being a teacher is adapting to the large variety of personalities and behaviors,” said Mitchell. “All the classrooms have such different dynamics and needs.  Each student requires different needs that need to be addressed separately from the overall classroom needs.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, there are approximately 7.2 million teachers in the United States tasked with educating the children of America, and Mitchell stressed how important it is to have a teacher appreciation week each year.

“I think it is important because teaching can be a very thankless job,” said Mitchell. “We spend a large portion of a students’ time with them, so it’s teachers that really try to mentor and mold the student to function in society.”

Without these men and women, who knows what would become of this great nation, which is why since 1984 the National Parent Teacher Association has designated the first full week in May as PTA Teacher Appreciation Week.

Whether it be watching her students place in an art fair, seeing them take control of planning events for student council or seeing how they grow into young, accomplished adults and leaders, Mitchell can’t stress enough how much she cares for her students.

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One Comment

  1. Cheryl Quinn

    This is an excellent article that is two-fold. Mrs. Mitchell is not only a dedicated teacher, but she is also the wife of a Marine who is away from home most of the time. She puts her heart-and-soul into teaching her kids, and she also is a great role model for them. Showing others how important it is to be kind and helpful, take responsibility for yourselves, and to treat others as you want to be treated are very important life lessons. Shannon Mitchell is truly a teacher to be appreciated.

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