Hello! My name is John Mitchem. I am currently a Health and Physical Education Teacher in the Albemarle County Public School System. This is my first year teaching with a provisional license. I will soon be 32 so needless to say, I have a very unique journey to this point.
I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sports Medicine from Catawba College. After becoming a licensed athletic trainer, I worked for a year at Lynchburg College and then 5 years for Waynesboro City Schools as their Head Athletic Trainer and also teaching a year long Sports Medicine class. At the same time I was coaching club and high school volleyball. In 2005 I was approached with the opportunity to become the Head Volleyball Coach at Mary Baldwin College. So I left teaching and athletic training to pursue a college coaching career. After two successful seasons I left to become the Assistant Volleyball Coach at James Madison University. While at JMU I also finished my Masters Degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Athletic Leadership. As fate would have it, I met an amazing woman during my year at JMU. I decided that instead of traveling around the country searching for the next greatest volleyball athlete, I needed to cultivate this relationship and start planning our future. That led me to taking a position with Albemarle County Schools. I teach K-4 in the morning and then 9th grade Health and PE in the afternoon. I get the best of both worlds.
On the personal side of life, I will be getting married on June 19th. We have a 10 year old Cocker Spaniel named Ricky. We love to travel! We enjoy sporting events of any kind. I am a huge University of Michigan football fan, while Wendy my fiance is a University of Tennessee fan.
Growing up in the suburbs of The District of Columbia I had the opportunity to attend K-12 in one of the largest public school systems in the country. When I graduated high school in 1995, Fairfax County Public Schools had 23 high schools. In the passing fourteen years FCPS has added two high schools and has a current pupil count of 168,742. I believe I was given every opportunity to succeed in school. As a teacher, I would like to give my students the same opportunities that were given to me. These opportunities should be the same if I have the largest school system in the country or the smallest. I believe with the advent of the internet and the world wide web, barriers are being knocked down every day in the transmission of information. It is my responsibility to use the internet in the education of students.
Students learn by doing. As a teacher, I hope to keep my students on the edge of their seat when it comes to instruction. I try to remember this Chinese Proverb when I'm planning my lessons:
"Tell Me, I'll Forget
Teach Me, I'll Remember
Kids today love technology! It so happens that I love technology as well! Even as a Health and Physical Teacher I enjoy bringing technology to the students. Some examples are the Primal Anatomy Software or even as simple as pedometers and heart rate monitors. I find that students enjoy getting data from these devices and manipulating them with Excel type software. Global Positioning System (GPS) units are also big hits with the students. Students enjoy the orienteering exercises and "treasure hunts" that these units facilitate. I hope you will always find the latest gadget in my kids hands.
Because of my love for technology and being on the cutting edge, I would not like to see a national curriculum. I enjoy pushing the envelope with my kids. I wouldn't want the curriculum to be a step backward for my classroom. If a national curriculum were to be created it would probably be a step backward from what my kids are learning. I also think each community has certain resources that should be utilized. If you live in an area that has mountains then your PE department should be using them for education. If you are located near a body of water then your activities should include swimming, kayaking, or other water based activities. Teachers are very resourceful, I do not believe their teaching should be based on a national curriculum that does not take into account the unique situations that teachers in different parts of the country enjoy.