Transcontinental Teacher

From here in San Antonio, to college on the east coast, to adventures overseas in Morocco and Saudi Arabia, Mrs. Mann is a new Charger with a unique story.

Mrs. Mann has a gentle, kind demeanor and, after 14 years of being an English teacher, can eloquently make a point. She has chapters of intriguing stories from foreign countries, and the years she has spent discovering life far away reveal her truly adventurous spirit.

Mrs. Mann grew up in San Antonio, graduating from Holmes High School in NISD. She then made a solo adventure across the United States to Wheaton College in Massachusetts. At first, she majored in political science and minored in Russian language. Soon though, she realized that English was the area she really wanted to pursue. She loved being a student and discovering new things, especially through reading.

In high school she played volleyball and basketball. She remained involved in school activities throughout college. In this way, as an English I Pre-AP teacher, she can relate to her freshman students who are learning how to balance activities and schoolwork.

“I want students to be able to talk to me about their schedules,” Mann said. She understands how overwhelming the chaos of high school can be.

To be successful students need to “ask questions, keep up with work, participate, and have fun with it,” she said.

After graduating with a BA in English Literature from Wheaton, she returned to her home town of San Antonio. Teaching presented the perfect opportunity for her to work and continue her education. She earned a teaching certification at UTSA and got a job teaching at Business Careers High School, a magnet school on the Holmes campus.

“It was really interesting. Some of the teachers that had taught me were now my colleagues,” she said.

While she was teaching, she earned a Master’s degree in English from Incarnate Word, where she met her husband. After eight years of teacher at BCHS, she and her husband left the U.S. and taught for four years at the American International School of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. This school offers education from PK to 12th grade. At the beginning of last year, enrollment totaled 956, a sharp contrast to Churchill’s 3,000. She taught English II Pre-AP, English III regular, English IV AP Literature, and Creative Writing. In addition, she started a mentor program for young women, was the NHS sponsor, coached varsity volleyball and ran the school’s American Idol based talent show.

“Here at Churchill I hope to find a club or organization that needs my help. I miss that extracurricular aspect of the job,” Mann said.

The curriculum she taught in Saudi Arabia was the exact same as in the U.S. For example, she taught To Kill a Mockingbird. At first, she thought that the kids there would have a hard time relating to the books, seeing as they weren’t even American. However, she found they responded very well to the material, and found the whole situation very “eye-opening as a teacher”.

Overall, the people were very “open-minded”, and didn’t look down upon her as a “Westerner”. She was surprised to find that many of the parents of her students seemed extremely eager to prove that they were not hostile people. Tensions were high between the U.S. and Middle East at the time, only years after the terrorist attacks, but she found that the people did not resent her because of where she came from. They were able to make distinctions between American politics and an American person; they knew Mrs. Mann didn’t necessarily represent every viewpoint of the U.S.

During her time teaching in Saudi Arabia, she and her husband traveled through the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. Morocco was her favorite place to visit. She and her husband spent a whole summer there, long enough to become a part of everyday life and avoid just “playing tourist”. Her second favorite place to visit was England, and she would like to do a complete UK tour in the future. Also, she would like to take her two children to some places in our country, such as Washington D.C.

After the birth of their first child in 2007, she and her husband returned to San Antonio. At first she taught at Incarnate Word, but soon realized that she missed teaching teenagers.

“I find teenagers funny. They’re not given enough credit by adults,” she said.

Mrs. Mann said she couldn’t choose a favorite school; they’ve all taught her different things and offered her new experiences, “I am happy to be a Charger. I hope in the coming years students will get to know who I am and look forward to being in my classes.”

Autumnal Musings

A crisp breeze scented with early morning dew sweeps past my cheek. In my soul I know; autumn is on it’s way. Seamlessly the endless August days give way to the mild ones of fall. A slight chill makes me grab a jacket on the way out the door. No more blistering heat, no beads of sweat reappearing just two seconds after I wipe them off my forehead. Girls everywhere heave a sigh of relief; the stifling humidity, which makes even the sleekest hair anxious, is now dormant until next summer’s awakening.

Fall, it’s the only season where bright orange pumpkins, golden bundles of straw, and speckled, spotted, striped gourds appear on the way into HEB. It’s the season of Thanksgiving, which in and of itself is a beacon of hope in the turbulent seas of schoolwork. Above all, it provides an opportune moment for reflection.

I know it’s fall when I get home from school and find China pumpkins sitting on the end tables in my living room. Delightful candles with names like Harvest and Pumpkin Pie become denizens of the window sills, and fill the house with smells that I recognize, remember and crave all year long. Outside, the light disappears earlier and earlier every night, as if some large hand is slowly sliding down the dimmer switch on the world. Light radiates from the surrounding houses, contrasting the darkness. There is warmth and light inside, dark and coolness outside. The effect is peace, comfort, and welcome silence.

Signature things about fall are more than just tradition; they’re comforting to the heart, nourishing to the soul. The most magical part is that to everyone, fall means something different. Different memories flood and scroll through everyone’s mind, each special and unique.

Nothing can top the crunching of fallen leaves while walking under a canopy of trees painted in warm reds, yellows and oranges. Nothing can surpass the peace and warmth that  a freshly baked pie’s aroma brings to a home….

Accept my challenge, take a deep breath, and muse with childlike innocence on your favorite wonders of fall.

1 2 3 4