Class act: English teacher Mary Mitchell


Grace Sanders

New English teacher Mary Mitchell brings a love of films and books to the school.

Sara Doyle and Eliza Holt

Accustomed to Indiana’s cool climate, new English II teacher Mary Mitchell was afraid she would never get used to the Texas heat.

Mitchell’s graduated from the College of William and Mary in 2010 and attended graduate school at Indiana University. She studied English Literature, focusing on British Romanticism, but she later “fell in love with teaching.” She taught at Indiana University for five years before coming to St. John’s. Her love of interacting with students prompted Mitchell to switch from teaching college students to high school students.

“Teaching at the college level involves a lot more lecturing,” Mitchell said. “My tendency in teaching is to be more interactive and to do more discussions, so high school teaching is a better fit.”

Mitchell’s colleagues are eager to work with her and agree that she is a great fit.

“After watching her interact with students, it seems clear that Ms. Mitchell has made an easy adjustment to St. John’s and that this school is a great fit for her,” Head of the English Department Rachel Weissenstein said. “I could tell, when I spoke with her during the interview process, that she was very bright and engaging and that she definitely knew a lot about English literature and writing.”

Students and advisees love Mitchell’s passion for English and excitement.

“When I first met Ms. Mitchell, she seemed really excited to get to know us,” freshman advisee Thomas Chang said. “Her enthusiasm and energy made me even more excited to get to know her.”

Mitchell’s students also appreciate her interactions in class.

“You can tell that she is really interested in what we are doing, so it makes it more fun because she has her own opinion and ideas on what we are talking about in class,” sophomore Ishan Shah said.

In addition to teaching sophomore English, Mitchell is the new sponsor of the Film Studies Club. Mitchell minored in film studies and volunteered at an independent cinema in Indiana.

“I missed film studies so much,” Mitchell said. “I was really surprised and happy that St. John’s had a Film Studies Club.”

Mitchell ensures that her classroom is a creative and welcoming place. She fills her walls with posters of novels and movies, keeps a couch in the corner and has a Harry Potter themed snuggie for students to use.  

Although she experienced the summer heat and Hurricane Harvey just after her arrival in Houston, Mitchell’s transition into the SJS community has been smooth.  

“Teachers and students are really passionate about whatever it is they are into and that’s very me,” Mitchell said.