Mitchell to retire at end of school year


Zakary Hicks

Timothy Mitchell is standing in front of his books and ready to read! Mitchell has been a teacher for 35 years and is retiring after working at the junior high for 11 years.

Zakary Hicks, Reporter

Timothy Mitchell is an eighth grade reading teacher and has been teaching for 35 years.  He taught elementary school for twenty-four years and this is his eleventh year at the junior high.  In addition to teaching at AAJHS,  he taught at Curtin Elementary, Irving Elementary, Washington-Jefferson Elementary, Juniata Gap Elementary and Roosevelt Junior High.  He is retiring this year and has impacted many colleagues and students over his years of teaching.

 Mitchell has made many friendships throughout his career.

“The best part about teaching is the daily interaction with the students and my fellow teachers, administrators and staff. I have worked with and for some of the most talented, creative, compassionate, intelligent  and dedicated people in the world. We become a family, and we share each other’s joys and sorrows, personal and professional challenges, and daily victories and frustrations,”  Mitchell said.

 Mitchell likes to form a connection.

 “Some of my favorite moments as a teacher occur years after having taught a student, when he or she runs into me at the store or at a restaurant, and we share memories of our time together. Or when a student tells me how much she enjoyed a book we’ve read or how much his reading has improved. Or when a former student comes by years later and tells me that he or she was going through a rough time when the student was in my class, and I helped them through it. The truth of the matter is that most kids are going to forget a lot of what we are teaching them. They will not forget how we made them feel and whether they thought we cared about them,”  Mitchell said.

 Mitchell has impacted many of his students.

 “Mr. Mitchell has made my year better by teaching me Mitchell life lessons and teaching me a lot about reading.  He is a great teacher because he not only teaches very well, but he also reads interesting books.  I am really going to miss him,”  eighth grade student Kaden Daniel said.

 Past students of his still think about him.

 “I miss him because he was super funny, super sweet, always caring and really energetic.  He always made my day by adding a lot of laughs, and he just made everything awesome,” ninth grade student Megan Pensyl said.

 Alyssa McCombie has a lot of respect for Mitchell.

 “Mr. Mitchell has definitely impacted my career.  He has shown me how to strive to be the best educator I can and to constantly be working to my fullest potential to meet the need of each student in the classroom,” eighth grade teacher McCombie said.

 Donna Kling has had an impact from working with Mitchell.

 “I have worked on the same team with him since the start of AAJHS, 11 years.  This year I was presented with the honor of co-teaching with him for reading and anchors comprehension. Mr. Mitchell has impacted my life and teaching in many ways though probably the greatest is to truly give your best each day regardless of the circumstances.  A favorite saying of his is: ‘Your best is good enough.’  So, if I am truly giving my best to my students, colleagues, family and community what more can be asked?  To strive to do the best you can in all aspects is all anyone can ask of a person. The ‘Life Lessons’ and ‘Mitchellisms’ he gives during his classes have resonated with me, and I find myself applying them not only to my life, but my daughter’s life and my teaching as well,”  eighth grade teacher Kling said.

 Elizabeth Bronson has known Mitchell for years.

 “I have worked with Mr. Mitchell since we came to the junior high so about 10 years.  There are the only three members of the original team, me, Tim and Donna Kling,  from when we became one school.  Mr. Mitchell impacts my life and teaching positively on a daily basis. He accomplishes this through his stories, “Mitchellisms,”  his wisdom gained through his life and teaching experiences that he shares and his unique perspective on life, teaching and philosophical discussions,”  eighth grade teacher Bronson said.

 Annetta Conway respects Mitchell a lot.

 “Mr. Mitchell is what I would call the quintessential teacher meaning he honestly has a passion for teaching.  He loves what he does, he loves his subject and he loves teaching.  He is all about kids, all about his profession and he is just absolutely a wonderful teacher.  He is somebody that you would want to aspire to be because he is so good at his job,” eighth grade teacher Conway said.

 Mitchell receives a lot of thanks from Suzanne Lloyd.

 “He has made work much more enjoyable.  He is fun to be around, he is funny and he makes coming to work pleasant because you know he is doing a great job, so when the kids come to you they are ready to work because they have been working for him.  They always have nice things to say and everyone is positive,”  eighth grade teacher Lloyd said.

 A lot of things will be missed.

 “I will miss the people I’ve grown to know and love. I will miss those moments when I see a student learn and grow and change and improve. I will miss seeing a classroom full of kids reading silently and enjoying every  minute of it. I will miss sharing my “Mr. Mitchell’s Life lessons” with my classes. I will miss my third period team meetings with the best teachers and principal in the world,” Mitchell said.

 Conway will miss Mitchell.

 “Will I miss him? Oh my goodness, yes!  Mr. Mitchell is passionate about his job, but he also has such a wonderful sense of humor.  He makes things fun and funny,”  Conway said.

 Bronson will also miss Mitchell.

 “Mr. Mitchell will be missed by me, the team and his students.  He is a fantastic teacher.  He truly cares about his students and what they learn.  He wants them to become better readers and to love reading. Mr. Mitchell desires for his students to become lifelong learners and to positively affect the world.  He gives such insight and guidance to everyone he comes in contact with,”  Bronson said.

 McCombie is going to miss him as well.

 “Oh my goodness, will I miss him.  Yes, is an understatement.  He has helped me so much to believe that I can do this career.  Though I may not save the world, I am making a huge difference with a few of my students who care.  He has helped me to see this and to see what kind of teacher I am striving to be,”  McCombie said.

 Mitchell will also be missed by Kling.

 “I will miss working with Mr. Mitchell to a degree that I can not fully express.  His daily approach to his career of teaching, his students and his team has been absolutely inspirational for me.  He has inspired me to reassess my approach on instruction, student and teacher relationships and the use of humor and emotion to teach.  He is what all teachers should strive to be in the classroom, a true teacher of not just a subject but of lives and responsibilities.  His career is something we all should strive to duplicate, as he did it everyday for the kids. No matter what he was going through personally he always gave his absolute best, which is simply amazing.  I will truly miss listening to him read orally to the class from various novels.  He would create different voices for all the characters.  He surely made the books come alive, and the lessons presented relate to our students today,” Kling said.

 With any career, comes struggles.

 “The joys and successes I have experienced in 35 years as a teacher have far outnumbered the frustrations and struggles, but there have been a few. It is frustrating when it seems that the young people whose lives could be improved by education the most seem to care the least. The over-emphasis of standardized testing, and the  pressure it puts on students, teachers and administrators has changed education, and not for the better I’m afraid. The over-reliance on technology has been a struggle for me. Maybe because I am old.  Sometimes more is not always better, and sometimes it seems like the technology tail is wagging the education dog,” Mitchell said.

 Bronson shares many memories with Mitchell.

 “I think I can narrow it down to two.  When we took the students down to the auditorium and he brought his guitar and sang to and with the kids.  They loved it.  The second would be when we took the team to Valley View Park and he was flipping burgers and hot dogs and playing baseball and kickball.  He was loving every minute of it,” Bronson said.

 Mitchell has made memories with Kling.

 “Some of my favorite memories of working with Mr. Mitchell are from our team meetings when he would apply his wisdom, unique perspective and humor to a situation.  He would have us all laughing but seeing the issue in a different light,” Kling said.

 Retirement isn’t stopping Mitchell.

 “In some ways, I am not ready to leave.  I think I’m still an effective teacher. I think I have something to offer.  I’m not burned out. I still have some gas left in the tank. You might find me in a fourth or fifth grade classroom somewhere next fall or in a warehouse moving boxes from one end of the building to another or behind a counter at a fast-food place asking you if you want fries with that. I’m going to do something. Just not this,” Mitchell said.

 People have nothing but good things to say.

 “His use of humor, drama and theatrical skills, and endless knowledge combined with his intellect and passion for teaching created a truly unique teacher.  He impacted so many students and teachers throughout his career.  When you hear students say ‘I love his class,’ when they don’t like to read, is an amazing tribute.  One boy told me this year ‘I would fail eighth grade if I knew I would be in Mr. Mitchell’s class again,’’ Kling said.

 It is time to say goodbye.

 “He will be missed in the classroom, in the halls and in the hearts of many students and teachers.  To paraphrase how he ends each class (“Goodbye, have a good day,  I love you.”) Goodbye Mr. Mitchell, have an awesome retirement, I love you,” Kling said.