By Alexis Newman
While some may know from a young age what profession they would like to pursue, sometimes a person’s life experiences shape their decision and take them places they may not have expected. One such example is Sunny Mitchell.
Having taught for 10 years, Mitchell currently teaches third grade math at Ruston Elementary School. Although she loves her job as a teacher, she didn’t always have an interest in the career.
Originally, Mitchell got her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Louisiana Tech in 2006, but after taking a few years off and going back to get her master’s degree, she decided to go into education instead. Mitchell had volunteered at the Special Olympics for years along with her mother, and her experience of attending the event and connecting with the students who attended inspired her to pursue special education specifically.
“The more I thought about what I wanted to do, the more I felt a pull towards Special Education. Prior to that I had never been interested in teaching,” Mitchell said. On her career choice, she also added, “It was an easy decision and one of the best I’ve ever made!”
Mitchell takes a tough love approach to her teaching, upholding high standards while also guiding students to succeed on their own. She said that when students know that you care about them and help them achieve their goals, they feel motivated to work hard both for their teacher and themselves.
“I have high expectations for my students no matter who they are,” Mitchell said. “I do not give up on any student who is struggling.”
One of the ways she helps students learn is through music. Mitchell’s class learns multiplication facts by singing and dancing, and she said that it helps with memorization, improves calculation skills, and allows the students to have fun. To further inspire the students, Mitchell shares that, despite now teaching math, she struggled with the subject growing up.
“Although I had no idea that this would be my calling, it has been one of the most rewarding experiences,” Mitchell said.
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