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For Mr. Mitchell

May 7, 2010

Time for some more spoken word… today is gonna be a double feature.  Taylor Mali is an awesome def poet that I just adore.  He has two pieces that he performed on HBO’s Def Poetry that are part of my all time favorite list.  And here’s why:

There is no profession I admire more than teachers.  Teachers throughout the years have changed my life… have taught me so much more than just the assigned curriculum.

Everyone has that teacher (at least I hope so) where words will never be enough to tell them what they meant to you.  To thank them for everything.  For me, that was my 11th grade English teacher in Parkland, Florida:  Mr. George Mitchell.  He was in his 50s (maybe 60s), he was Greek, bald, tall and had broad shoulders.  When he stood to teach, he seemed to take up the whole classroom.  We didn’t read many books although it was an American Literature class.  He loved to teach through movies like Shawshank Redemption and Cool Hand Luke.

He would ask his students thought provoking question after question as if he were peeling away at an onion until we, the student, got to the real truth.  He called us by pet names and would get so excited when something “clicked”.   I revered him and pushed myself to be better just to win his praises.   Every time, I listen to these two pieces of Taylor Mali’s – I think of Mr. George Mitchell who taught me more than just 11th grade American Literature.  He taught me how to exercise my mind.

Who was your Mr. Mitchell and why?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 29, 2013 9:31 am

    I also had Mr. Mitchell as my American Lit teacher my Junior year of high school (’94-’95). He is, to date, the best teacher I’ve ever had. I’d do a lot of things now to sit through one of his classes again as an adult. Never before has a teacher made me think the way he did. Bravo on the YouTube choices.

  2. chris permalink
    September 18, 2013 1:55 pm

    I had Mr. Mitchell for two classes my senior year in Parkland. He was definitely a different kind of teacher. He went beyond teaching just the normal curriculum and bs you learn in school. made you think outside the box and gave a little more insight into what life is about. From what I understand he retired after the 99-00 year.

  3. Anonymous permalink
    October 11, 2013 10:50 am

    I had Mr. Mitchell as an English teacher in Coral Springs high school in 1990. He was a fantastic teacher. Every time I write an essay I still think of him. Linda castrogovianni

  4. Tiffany permalink
    October 23, 2014 5:42 pm

    I had George Mitchell as a teacher in ’95-’96 and he had the same impact on me. I use references from his class and so much of his curriculum- that he had approved for us, his students- is still embedded in my mind. Another of his students and I have been talking about him recently. I wonder if he knows what an impact he has made on us….

  5. glenn permalink
    January 9, 2016 9:54 pm

    I had him my senior year in Coral Springs 1984, along with his son Matt Mitchell who was my age. I kept in touch with him for some time but lost touch after I graduated college. I miss him so damn much i wish i knew him still –

  6. April 12, 2018 5:05 pm

    George Mitchell is the best teacher I ever had — in all of school and college — and one of the best persons I have ever had the honor to know, period. I had him in Coral Springs High School for GT English — 2 years in a row. It was a small class — like a family which he magnified in value at least a thousand fold (more like infinity).

    I’m so glad to see someone of his caliber keeps giving and giving… and giving… and remains so indelibly motivated. I wish I could give him more in return — would love to talk with and seem him again.

    Mr. Mitchell taught us sooooooooo much more than English Literature. Writing has become a key part of my career — and not because it is an absolute requirement. It is only because he taught so well that writing has become more valuable than most in my field. Beyond writing, he taught us about philosophy, architecture and music through the ages, various perspectives of love, politics (yes in a tactful way), and ACHIEVEMENT in overall. He taught us how to LEARN instead of just make good grades — he is the KING of that. Mr. Mitchell invited us to his home and shared his family.

    We kept in touch for a few years into college… and then lost touch. I truly LOVE George Mitchell and, like other people here, wish I still had his contact info. So many George Mitchell entries to skim through in the “phone book” and search tools. Thanks to @Glenn above, at least now I know his son’s name is Matt (I had forgotten). That could narrow down the search 🙂

    A final thing Mr. Mitchell taught me (kinda in unison with Richard Back, a popular philosophical book author)… The meaning behind the phrase I include in virtually every email — and in my outgoing voicemail recording as well:

    Make it a Great Day 🙂

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