Kyaiera Mistretta, class of 2003, is fondly remembered by her former professors at GW as one of those students whom everyone looks forward to having in class: smart, engaged, perceptive, full of promise. We asked her to let us know what career path she had followed since leaving GW. She writes:
Currently I work as a high school English teacher in the city of Stamford, Connecticut. I teach a variety of courses that cater to a range of abilities. Teaching is a lot more than a job, especially at the urban schools I’ve taught in. While teaching is demanding and the hours are a lot longer than just the school day, it is extremely rewarding. Every day I am able to share my love of literature and writing with my students. I work to create a classroom atmosphere where I can engage my students in thoughtful analytical discussion. It is through these discussions that I find myself gaining new insights into texts. My students are often able to enter texts from unique and interesting perspectives that greater inform my own reading. Teaching also affords me the opportunity to conduct research into learning styles and methods, and then to implement and refine the results to improve my pedagogy.
What I learned at GW is at the heart of my teaching. When I had to teach Beowulf this year I went back to my notes from Monsters and Medieval Identity, when I had to teach poetry I found myself referencing the many creative writing courses I took, and when I had to teach Jane Eyre I built my lessons off my notes from The Victorian Novel. For nearly every text I teach I find myself looking back on what I learned at GW. My classes at GW also provided me with a solid foundation that allowed me to excel in my graduate studies at Columbia Teachers College.
When I reflect on my time at GW I am always thankful for my professors’ enthusiasm, encouragement and willingness to engage in discussion beyond the classroom. The time I spent learning to be a better writer and reader of poetry with Jody Bolz and David McAleavey is something I will cherish. I will also always have fond memories of Prof. Ganz who really helped me to push myself as a reader.
Congratulations, Kyaiera, on choosing such an important career and succeeding so brilliantly. We wish you all the best.