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Logo: Newport News Public Schools

Model Teachers: Middle School English

Model TeacherModel TeacherName: Adria Merritt
Content: Middle School English
School: Crittenden Middle
Years Taught: 22
 

What makes NNPS a great school division?
NNPS makes an intentional effort to develop and support teachers. Through the curriculum, professional development offerings, academic coaches, and mentoring system, NNPS strives to provide resources and opportunities for both novice and master teachers to further develop their craft.

What do you most love about teaching?
I love that teaching allows me to make an impact every day. I love that I have opportunities each day to provide students with experiences that hone skills, expand knowledge, provide new insights, ignite curiosity, build relationships, and promote reflection.

Why are you passionate about supporting fellow teachers?
Teaching is hard work.  The day to day responsibilities can be overwhelming, yet (with help) the business of teaching becomes more manageable and even enjoyable.   I have been fortunate to have taught in buildings where help was always available.  Teachers thrive when they are a part of a collaborative community of educators who are sharing, planning, and reflecting with each other.  I know it is essential to support fellow teachers by focusing on solutions to the challenges that arise as we go about with the serious business of educating children.

 


Model TeacherModel TeacherName: Michael Mitzel
Content: Middle School English
School: Huntington Middle
Years Taught: 10

 

What do you most love about teaching?
I reap the largest reward when I see my students making connections. I love to see them connect one aspect of our lesson to another concept or class and then apply their new learning with confidence. I enjoy seeing students engage with the content beyond the required homework or test and use the skills learned in the classroom in the real world.

What makes NNPS a great school division?
NNPS is a great school division because of its student centered approach to teacher training. Newport News provides abundant support for its teachers though ongoing development and classroom coaching. Professional development is tailored to meet specific student needs, allowing NNPS teachers to bring their best so they can reach each student. Additionally, NNPS has fostered a genuine sense of community within its classrooms and across each building giving teachers access to a number of division-wide resources.

Why are you passionate about supporting fellow teachers?
I am passionate about supporting fellow teachers because I love collaborating with others. Often we find ourselves needing additional support. I've found that the best way to overcome obstacles is by partnering with someone who has experienced the same kinds of challenges. As we work, we strategize and develop a plan together that we can both take away and add to our classroom toolboxes.

 


Model TeacherModel TeacherName: Grace Rivera
Content: Middle School English
School: Booker T. Washington Middle
Years Taught: 15
 

What do you most love about teaching?
I think many teachers can relate to the sense of joy you get when a student really gets something for the first time. That thrill is what made me decide to be a teacher, but I love the whole process of teaching, too. I like taking a skill, breaking it down, and figuring out the best way to teach it. I like trying a lesson with a group of students so that I can see if they are learning it how I planned, and I enjoy figuring out what to do next to challenge those who “get it” right away and to help those who are still struggling. Most of all, I love watching students grow over time and seeing them become better readers and writers across the span of an entire year.

Why do you love working in NNPS?
NNPS is amazing because of the support and professional development opportunities that are offered. From working with colleagues in content teams, to technology training and PD, to instructional coaches coming in to conference with students, there are many opportunities to grow as a teacher and to do what is best for our students.

Why are you passionate about supporting fellow teachers?
I learn so much from the teachers I work with every day that it would be hard not to want to help others in return. Teaching should always be about sharing ideas and strategies so that we can all figure out what works best for our students. It might be technically possible to teach on your own, but we are definitely all better teachers when we work together and support each other!

Logo: NNPS Curriculum Department