Christie Mitchell's Learning Story


I have many stories about learning and school since I decided to become a teacher myself and have had ample opportunity to reflect on my experiences. I did not like school until Junior High. That is not usual, I know. But until about 6th grade, I just didn’t “get it.” I had no idea what was going on, why I was going to school, or what I was trying to accomplish. I guess teachers back then didn’t share the “whys” very much and I was a “why” and “what if” kid. In 6th grade, my teacher introduced us to “spelling contracts.” There were 3 choices. The “A” contract, the “B” contract, and the “C” contract. All we had to do is choose one and sign it, do it as outlined, and we would receive that grade. Maybe this is a boring story, but this was a big revelation to me. Up to this point I had no idea how to earn an “A” and I seriously doubted, according to my personal track record, that I was even capable of it. I greedily signed the “A” contract and consistently earned an A each week in spelling. It was magic. I couldn’t get enough of that, so I started figuring out just what I needed to do to earn an A in everything. It wasn’t always as easy to figure out as the spelling contract but it was something that I eventually could pin down. I went on to be at least a B honor roll student in Jr High and graduated High School with a 3.7 gpa. Since then I have completed an AA degree with a 3.9 and a Bachelors of Science in Education summa cum laude. Soon I will be completing a masters degree in similar fashion. I owe it all to a teacher who taught me that I could (and do) choose my success.