Teacher Spotlight: Missy Newman

Teacher Spotlight: Missy Newman

You don’t want to MISS Mrs. Missy Newman in the classroom or in the teacher spotlight! Join us as we get to know this 20 year veteran of the whiteboard.

Adam: Where were you born?

Missy: In Virginia around the Fairfax area. 

Adam: What high school did you attend and what was your mascot?

Missy: I attended Farragut High and we were the Admirals.

Adam: What college did you go to? 

Missy: I went to University of Tennessee for my bachelor’s in Spanish and a minor in English and also for my masters degree in Foreign Language ESL. That’s now known as World Language ELL. Then, I attended Tennessee Tech for my Curriculum and Instruction EDS. 

Adam: How many years have you taught total and how many years at Hardin Valley Academy?

Missy: Ive been teaching for 20 years all the way from little kids to college level.  I’ve been at HVA for 2 years. 

Adam: What subjects are you teaching this semester? 

Missy: Spanish 1 and 3. 

Adam: Why did you get into teaching? 

Missy: I thank my Spanish degree for that. I was actually working at the Sheriff’s office and it just didn’t pay well. I did the emergency certification and started teaching middle school with no experience. I think they called that baptism by fire. Haha!  That’s how I got started 20 years ago.

Adam: What is your most heartwarming teaching story? 

Missy: When I was at Clinton High School I taught up to Spanish 5.  We would do a combined class of level 3 and 4 and then a level 5 independent study. I had a student send me a message a few years back in Spanish about how she really loved that I had taught her Spanish and how much it’s helped her.  She had even lived in a foreign country for a while. 

Adam: What would you do if you weren’t teaching? 

Missy: I’d stay home with my kids and homeschool them.  I’m a rebel teacher. 

Adam: Who was your favorite teacher when you were a student? 

Missy: Miss Lacey, the English teacher at Farragut.  She may be retired by now, but she was a great teacher. We did a unit on transcendentalism and didn’t do grades. We’d sit outside and write and do all sorts of fun, inspiring things. 

Adam: In your 2 years here at Hardin Valley Academy, is there a certain educator that has inspired you or that you’ve learned a lot from?

Missy:  Mr. Combs puts together these challenge boards that teachers place goals on.  It could be things like trying a new lesson plan, starting a new club, anything that challenges the teachers to grow.  There was one challenge to not talk during your whole lesson to the students so you had to find another way to teach and communicate and then you’d get points for every challenge completed.  It would have been so fun to do it this year too because we’ve tried so many new things with virtual learning.  We’d have been racking up points!

Adam: Have you won or earned any professional awards? 

Missy: I’ve received Teacher of the Month from the county in one of the World Language newsletters in 2019.

Adam: What personal accomplishment are you most proud of? 

MIssy: I know this one!  All three of my children are Christians. 

Adam: That’s terrific. I hope to be able to say the same.

Adam: What do you wish every parent knew? 

Missy: Their kids do not tell them everything. They really need to ask them specific questions. Kids talk to other kids and to teachers they trust.  In my 20 years of teaching, I’ve seen so many parents surprised to hear what we tell them about their own kids.

Adam: What do you wish every student knew? 

Missy: They need to understand that they are not the only student we have. I think I have 127 students a semester.  Teachers have lots of students so they just need to be patient with us.

Adam: What is the difference between a good and a great teacher? 

Missy: A good teacher comes up with good new ideas and new lesson plans, but a great teacher actually analyzes this and looks back to see if they worked so that they can make them better the next time or get rid of them. If it didn’t work, chuck it. 

Adam: What improvement would you most like to see made to public education? 

Missy: Less kids per class. I have 39 in a virtual class right now.  It’s just impossible to keep up with that many kids. Some may disagree, but I could handle 30. I have 35 in my fourth block and that’s just too many. For every one student you add, I grade 10 more assignments a week. If they expect teachers to give quality feedback and quality attention, it needs to be a number we can handle.  Anywhere from 25-30 is ideal for me.

Adam: What’s something that you could use for your classroom? 

Missy: I’d like a subscription to Quizlet. You can do a little bit more if you have a subscription. 

Adam: What hobbies do you have?

MIssy:  I like to go to the gym. I haven’t gone lately, but I like to go to the gym and lift weights. I like to listen to books and read books also. I have to listen to books in the car.  I’m very artistic too and like to craft things.  My mom, daughter and I just went to Painting with a Twist and that was so much fun.

Adam: What is a good way for a student or a parent to spoil you? 

Missy: A gift card to Panera.  It’s my favorite place.

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