The Wildcat Voice

Mrs. Saunders Brings the Strange to Team Hele

Meg Linksy and Joi Scruggs, Staff Writers

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On any day of the week, Mrs. Saunders can be seen skipping, singing, or making funny noises in the Hele hallway. Her bubbly personality is why she makes the list of teachers to remember. As an eighth-grade language arts and journalism teacher, writing coach for Power of the Pen, and co-adviser of Drama Club, she has been leaving an impression for thirteen years.

What was Mrs. Saunders like as a student? “I was a major nerd,” she expressed. In eighth grade, she was voted Best Sense of Humor. In high school, she was valedictorian of her class and a straight-A student. She was also on the speech and debate team, a member of drama club, part of the marching and symphonic bands, and she participated in quiz bowls (two teams compete head-to-head to answer questions from all areas of knowledge, such as history, literature, science, fine arts, current events sports, and popular culture). She loved learning and was highly competitive; it was always her goal to get the highest grade or to have her teachers use her work as an example. Even though she was “into school,” as she put it, she was still the same goofy person her students know her as today.

As much as these features may seem like a teacher in the making, Mrs. Saunders had not planned on being a teacher. She had wanted to be a heart surgeon or a doctor. Her family believed medical careers were those most associated with success, so she made that her goal. However, while doing a medical shadowing experience as a junior, she realized the job wouldn’t make her happy; it was reading and writing that really brought her joy.

She expressed that what changed her mind most about choosing a career were the teachers in her high school. Her English teacher, Mr. Betts, kept kids laughing every day and taught To Kill a Mockingbird and Julius Caesar with so much passion and creativity that “you couldn’t help but buy in.” Her Greek Mythology teacher, Mr. Marino, dressed up in costumes and used funny voices, pretending to be different Greek gods and goddesses. Another teacher, Mr. Mazzucco, taught grammar, she said,  like a fun puzzle to be solved. “It always seemed like they were having fun. They made books and stories come to life,” she said. She wanted to do the same.

So, Mrs. Saunders attended Ohio University for her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Kent State for her Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction.  She started teaching the eighth grade in 2005 at a school in North Carolina, where she worked for three years. Afterwards, she got a job in Mayfield, where she’s worked for nine years–as a member of both the Adventure and Hele teams.

Mrs. Saunders explained that her favorite parts of teaching are when the students are engaged in what they are doing and when it is time to write. She loves designing lessons and organizing how they will run. She also enjoys class discussions and talking to students about books.

However, with every enjoyable part, there are the not-so-enjoyable parts, which Mrs. Saunders identified as grading and attending meetings. In language arts, the class she currently teaches, it takes an average of fifteen hours to grade all of the summatives after the students have taken them. In order to finish grading, Mrs. Saunders says she likes to break up the time spent into two hours per day for around a week. Along with grading, teachers spend a lot of time at school planning lessons, going to meetings, making copies, organizing their rooms, and many other things, in order to ensure students learn in the best way possible. According to Corey Murray, from EdTechmagazine.com, teachers spend anywhere from fourteen to sixteen hours at school each week either before students even arrive and after they’ve left. 

Mrs. Saunders does not have a lot of free time, especially with a two-year-old and an infant, however, she has a few things that she likes to do in the “rare moments” she has to herself. Mrs. Saunders loves to travel; she has been to twenty countries, her favorite places being Greece, Sicily, Costa Rica, and Grand Cayman Island, where she was married in 2011.  Her dream destination is Thailand, where she would like to go to an elephant farm to bathe and ride elephants.

Along with traveling, Mrs. Saunders enjoys musical theater, movies, Netflix, and of course books.  She is also enjoying raising her two children, Decker (3) and Isla (10 months), alongside her eleven-year-old Yorkie-poo Gracie.

If she had to be something other than a teacher, she’d want to be a travel and food blogger–combining her loves of eating, traveling, and writing.   

Everyone should have a favorite teacher, and Mrs. Saunders is definitely one of the great teachers here at Mayfield Middle School. Her funny personality, enthusiastic way of teaching, and love for her students make learning enjoyable.

 

 

 

 

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