Holly Mitchell is a teaching assistant for the third grade in Rachael Ide’s room. Holly began working at Carolina Day School in 2012 and her son, Baylis Mitchell, is a 2017 graduate of CDS. Holly worked in a museum setting as a Curator of Education, so she finds that she tends to lean towards a more artistic view versus a purely academic one when approaching lessons. “I think the students like this varied perspective and realize there is always more than one way to view assignments or challenges and they just need to find which way works best for them to understand what they are learning,” said Holly.Get to know Holly Mitchell:
In what ways can you teach/engage children at CDS that you couldn't at other schools? “The students at CDS are very inquisitive and enjoy learning through inquiry. Where at other schools students are told there is only one way to understand something they are learning, at CDS students are encouraged to find their own solutions through inquiry. Not everything is a square peg for a square hole, and CDS students have a wonderful grasp of this. It is an amazing process to witness, this exploration not only of subject matter but also of self as a student makes his or her own way to resolving a challenge. To be able as a teaching assistant to nurture this process, to coax this inquiry along without worrying if you are digressing off schedule a bit, is one of the most rewarding parts of my job.”
What do you like most about your job at CDS? “My favorite part of my job is the people with whom I get to spend my day. Everyone, faculty and staff as well a students, are very caring and supportive of one another and this makes for a genuinely happy environment in which to spend your time. The sense of community at CDS is something I have not experienced in other work environment.”
In your opinion, how does the CDS community inspire students to be courageous and curious, wonder about things that they don’t understand, try new things, and develop individual passions? “Students are always reminded that there is never a bad question and that it is through this inquiry that the most wonderful solutions are found. Individuality is fostered at CDS and this same individuality is encouraged in their learning process. We all learn differently, think differently, and therefore we will often find solutions to challenges in very different ways. Through group discussions, individual reflections, trial and error, each student at CDS finds his or her path with the encouragement of faculty as well as from fellow students.”
How would you describe your classroom? “Our classroom in the third grade is one of constant "aha" moments. Students are allowed to have these moments through small group work, individual work or as a collective whole. Each student feels safe and comfortable "putting themselves out there" where they know they will not be teased or ridiculed for their answers or questions. I believe this security allows students to stretch themselves far beyond what they would even expect from themselves.”
What books and authors inspire you? “A book that I love is The Life of Pi because it shows a perseverance and a belief in self that is such an important lesson for our children as well as ourselves. We must believe in ourselves and know that life offers so much to each of us, we only must give ourselves wholly to the process of learning and caring for each other in order to attain our very best.”
What is your favorite quote about education, mentorship, children, and/or learning? "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can..." from The Little Engine that Could.
How would you describe yourself and/or your approach to your job in 10 words or less? “Each day is an opportunity to live and learn.”