Meet Our Featured Teacher: Melissa Armstrong

By Giggle Magazine

Oak Hall School

7th and 9th Grades

Since 2001


Why were you inspired to teach?

According to my sister’s best friend, Annie, being a teacher was my destiny. She claims that she knew I would be a teacher when she was three years old. I would come home from kindergarten and require her and my sister to play school with me. Of course, I was the teacher, and they were the students. Apparently, I would teach them everything I had learned at school that day. I have no memory of this.

As far as inspiration? I was blessed to have lots of terrific teachers, but one teacher in particular really sparked a love of learning in me. She asked tough questions and offered few answers. Ms. Ileana Vila, my government teacher, made me want to learn. I want that for my students – for them to take what they’ve learned and use it to dig for more.

What is your favorite part of the school day?

I love all of it. If I had to pick just one favorite moment, it would be the drive to school. I’m excited to see my students, looking forward to teaching them something new, watching their minds come alive. The anticipation of another exciting day.

Do you have a favorite assignment that you typically assign your students?

I love teaching Lois Lowry’s The Giver. The students learn a color-coding technique to annotate the text. They learn to trace the theme of a book through the novel and then compare the theme with the movie version. I dress differently (no spoilers!) for almost the entire unit. My former students will see one of my outfits, stop in and ask randomly, “Are you teaching The Giver right now?” Wink-wink. Current students ask, “How’d they know that?” It’s so fun when we read the part in the book where it gets explained and they figure out why.

How do you wind down after a long day of teaching?

I eat dinner with my family. It is a priority and something I cherish. On nights where there is no paper grading, I watch TV with my girls. I am the reigning champion of determining the twists in the plot before they have been revealed.

What do you like to do outside of teaching?

I like to do puzzles, play card and board games, read, travel, hike, play video games and listen to contemporary Christian music.

Share a funny teaching moment/day.

Something funny happens every day! Today during the fire drill, two girls were giggling and pointing to my shoes. I had apparently found the “prize”- I stepped in bunny poop on the track.

If you were a superhero, who would you be?

Who says I’m not a superhero? A few of my students have seen me use my powers when I wasn’t aware they were watching. Melissa Armstrong might very well be my Clark Kent-like cover.

What is your favorite book?

This is a particularly difficult question to ask an English teacher.
Adult novel: One by Richard Bach
Young Adult: Anything by Ruta Sepetys
Series: Michael Scott’s The Alchemyst series
To teach: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton or The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Children’s: The Giving Tree byShel Silverstein

What inspires you to keep going on tough days?

Faith that I am making a difference, trust that I am answering a calling, hope that I can shine some light into someone else’s darkness, joy in the little moments and love for every child.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Teaching is more challenging than it has ever been. Be patient with the teachers in your life. We are working as hard as we can to make tomorrow better for everyone.


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