Search form

Teacher of the Day

Name:  Patricia Mentgen

School:  John P. Freeman Optional School

Subject:  English/literacy/Intellectually gifted

State:  TN

What or who inspired you to become a teacher?

My children inspired me to get a teaching degree to help them through school. Not all their teachers realized their potential, and I wanted to give them every advantage.

How are things different for you now, compared to when you first started teaching?

After 40 years of teaching, the biggest differences I see compared to when I first started teaching include a lack of family support because of split families; lack of focus for students to take responsibility for their learning despite diversity; and a lack of appropriate technology available in classrooms to accommodate higher levels of learning for gifted students.

patricia mentgen teacherWhat advice would you give to a new or struggling teacher?

The best advice I would give new and struggling teachers is to be positive. Know that the skills a teacher brings to a classroom are not just academics, but also the enthusiasm to inspire students to become independent and life-long learners. Teachers may not have adequate support from the administration, but a right attitude can carry them through the first years of teaching.

My best day in the classroom was when…

My best days in the classroom include the days when at the end of class, the students say, "Is class over already? The time went by too quickly!"

The best compliment I ever received was...

When a father returned  from the war zone in Afghanistan, his ex-wife dumped their three children on him and left. The oldest was in my Intellectually Gifted class. The father asked me to appear in court so he could gain full custody of the children, and I agreed. Everything came out in his and the children's best interest. He told me I had saved his son and his family. This had to be the best thing any parent ever told me in my 40 years of teaching.

What's your favorite part of the school year?

My favorite part of the school year is at the beginning of the school year, when everything is new and there's a chance to start over. I reflect on my past year of teaching to see how I can improve the new year for my students.

What is your one must-have item for the classroom?


What do you eat for breakfast on school days?

I usually eat yogurt, fruit and toast.

What movie or TV show do you secretly love?

To Kill A Mockingbird


Want to be considered for EducationWorld's Teacher of the Day series? Click here.

Education World®
Copyright © 2014 Education World