“Mrs. Mississippi, I love you, I love you. My love for you will never ever die.”
That was the song we chanted almost on a daily basis for my nursery school teacher when I was still a young child. Indeed, my love for her isn’t dead. This explains why I still remember this chant.
The first day I came across Jac Mizeur, I immediately knew that I wanted to feature her in the Magazine segment. From my experience, I don’t think teachers are celebrated well enough.
I recall seeing a picture she received from one of her students and it took me down memory lane. You see, my parents were the best but I’ll never forget one funny experience.
My dad had the impression that my mum was going to pick me up after school. My mum had the opposite. There was a mix-up and long story short, I was forgotten in school.
I cried my eyes out and I can still see flashes of that fateful day. It’s been a while so my memory is a bit hazy, to be honest. Anyway, my school teacher, called my parents to inform them of this and for the time being, took me to her house and treated me like a princess.
Jac is an English teacher for 11th and 12th graders. When she’s not teaching, she spends ample time on her blog and social media writing about fashion and current reads.
When I reached out to her for this feature, I was so excited that she accepted to participate.
“I received my bachelor’s degree at UT Austin in English with a minor in secondary education through the UTeach program.
I’ve taught senior and junior English for majority of my teaching career and this year I’m teaching AP English literature and juniors honors English. I’ve also been a part of my district’s curriculum writing team and I’m currently applying to be an AP reader this summer.”
If you’re curious, becoming an AP reader is one of the best professional development for educators in the US. To become a Reader, you must have taught at least one college course comparable to an AP course within the past three years.
When I asked her what it feels like to wear her shoes for a day. Her response showed how passionate she is about teaching.
“To put it bluntly, working in my position is awesome. This week my seniors and I plundered through Hamlet’s first soliloquy “Oh that this too too solid flesh would melt.”
On Thursday, I told them they would be watching more from the film Hamlet the next day in class and they actually cheered. I told them they were allowed to go home to their parents and tell them they learned about incest in English this week.
On the other hand, my juniors spent majority of the week drafting for an essay where they have to write about the effects of war. They spent the week analyzing the Operation Homecoming documentary text and real letters sent during various wars.
It was truly amazing to see some of their thesis statements about patriotism, family and pain. My days are filled with coffee, questions, pink pens, and lots of patience.”
I certainly wish I was taking some of her classes. My very first Shakespeare read was also Hamlet. If I had started earlier on, maybe, just maybe, I’ll have been a renowned author by now haha. Who knows?
“The best part about my job is hands down the relationships. The relationships between my students and I, within my classes, and with my staff.
When people find out I teach 11th and 12th graders they always make some comment about how that must be “the worst” but it’s really the opposite.
My students are old enough to empathize if you show them how, are beyond sentimental, and can be far kinder than most adults I run into these days.
At the end of the day, it’s not like there are students who are “bad” for the sake of being bad. If anything, the students who act out do it because school isn’t their priority, because they’re dealing with bigger issues.”
Most Memorable Day?
“As far as my most memorable day, it’s more like there are memorable moments. For example, I always love when I have an epiphany because I’ve had a student’s sibling.
One year the orchestra teacher found students we had in common and had them surprise me on my birthday by playing Happy Birthday on violins in the middle of one of my classes.
I’ve had a milkshake and waffle party in which I provided none of the materials (including 3 different waffle makers). I’ve received countless French-fry deliveries because students know they’re my favorite.
A female student has come to me in tears because her boyfriend was enlisting in the military. Oh, and I’ve had a student pull a rat out of her pocket the last 5 minutes of class because she bought it at a pet store during off-campus lunch. At the end of the day, it’s the smaller most random events I remember!
I’m here wishing I had this sort of relationship with some of my teachers in the past. If you’re considering a teaching career or if you’re wondering how Jac came to know that this was what she’ll like to do, here is the gist:
“When I went to college I had no clue what I actually wanted to do career wise. I started my freshman year as a journalism major with a minor in public relations.
Halfway through my freshman year I changed my major to teaching and I remembered being so nervous to tell my parents.
However, believe it or not, I learned my grandmother was also an English teacher when I told my parents and this to me confirmed my decision was the right one.
Most people always share how they just started something and found their interests from that initial step. Just as Casey Neistat shared in a vlog, if you are certain what you want to do in life then a college or university degree may not be necessary especially if it has to do with creativity.
But if you are unsure, then going to college will help you figure out your interests one way or another. Just start!
Like I previously stated, Jac spends her spare time blogging on fashion and new reads. In her words:
“As soon as I had my own money to spend, I spent it on clothes. I was hired for my first job a week before my 15th birthday as a bagger at Sprouts Grocery store.
I worked there up until about two weeks before I left for college and I would say 95% of my paychecks until my senior year of high school were spent on clothes.
I went to a very large high school and when I won best dressed I was flattered by the title but I was prouder of the fact that I purchased all of my clothes myself.”
She finds the time to juggle through school and blog work and yet ensures to relax.
“It depends on the day. If I’ve had an extremely stressful, grading heavy, or emotionally overwrought day, I tend to go to the gym to burn off some steam via the cycling room! I also like to relax by watching lots of TV and reading before bed.”
How do books affect you as a person?
“One of the best articles I’ve ever taught was titled “Why Fiction is Good for You” published by the Boston Globe. Reading this article was a moment of clarity for me because I felt like it vocalized why I’ve spent so much time reading fiction all of these years!
Books affect me by teaching me hundreds of emotions that I have yet to have lived through and by conforming emotions I’ve experienced before and pulling me through them yet again.
For example, I believe no one teaches adversity better than Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. To quote the article “fiction enhances our ability to understand other people; it promotes a deep morality that cuts across religious and political creeds.”
And then I asked what book she recommends everyone should read:
“This question is every English teacher’s worst nightmare! There are three I suppose I would list as life must reads: White Oleander, The Poisonwood Bible and at least one novel by Stephen King and Gillian Flynn.”
“Surprisingly, my favorite quote is from a film, not a book. The quote is: “Failure teaches us that life is but a draft, an endless rehearsal of a show that will never play.”
It’s from the film Amélie; however, the film is in French so one has to read subtitles to watch it, so I guess it’s still kind of like a novel.”
I hope this interview with Jac inspired you to pursue your career goals as well as other personal passions you might have. You should check out her blog teachingandlaundry.com and follow her on Instagram: @teachingandlaundry. She has so many beautiful pictures on her page.
Another huge thank you to Jac for sharing this inspiring piece with us. If you’re yet to read the last feature, please do. It’s about keeping fit as a busy worker. Read it HERE.
Have you ever thought of becoming a teacher? Or do you have any teacher tale to share? Did you enjoy this interview? Please share with me in the comment section below.
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