VJHS’ Mitchell credits teaching with giving his life purpose
Published 1:52 pm Tuesday, January 5, 2021
This article is part of a series by The Vicksburg Post, in partnership with the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce, featuring each of the Educator of the Year nominees.
For Frank David Mitchell, a teacher at Vicksburg Junior High School, connecting his lessons to different cultures and geographical locations gives his students an experience “beyond what they currently know.”
“Teaching students to consider the circumstances of others in different places and times allows the students to consider possibilities for themselves beyond what they currently know,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell, who is in his sixth year with the Vicksburg Warren School District, is a finalist for the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce’s Educator of the Year award. He previously taught at Vicksburg High School and now teaches English at Vicksburg Junior High School.
The Chamber will select and announce one elementary and one secondary teacher of the year at the chamber luncheon on Feb. 17. The winner of each award will receive $1,000 from Ameristar Casino and the runner-up for each award will receive $500 from Mutual Credit Union.
Mitchell earned his bachelor’s degree in English from Tulane and a master’s in English from Midwestern State University. In 2006, he completed his PhD ABD (All But Dissertation) in English from the University of North Texas. He also earned an educational specialist degree in educational leadership from William Carey University.
“I teach because teaching gives purpose to my life,” Mitchell writes in his Educator of the Year application.
Mitchell’s career in education spans 22 years, ranging from middle school to college in both Texas and Mississippi. With each educational institute he has worked at, he never stopped at just teaching. He became involved everywhere he went through leading clubs, serving as department heads and mentoring graduate students.
Mitchell uses his experience to help current students understand the world beyond Vicksburg.
“The greatest tool that I have found to supplement learning and connect students to the world around them is a world map. Students are better able to understand what they are reading if they can visualize the setting and begin understanding how geographical locations determine many characteristics and practices of the people there,” he writes. “Ultimately, however, the most powerful connections are the ones the students make themselves. Through effective questioning and suggestion, teachers can expose parallel attributes and universal truths that allow students to relate the material to their own lives. This self-realization promotes confidence, acceptance, and long-term understanding.”