Teacher Spotlight

By: Isabelle Jones

Marcella TellWe have so many amazing teachers here at ORVA, and we love to put them in the spotlight and give them recognition for their fantastic work. So, for our first Teacher Spotlight, I will be interviewing Mrs. Tell, our 10th-grade Chemistry teacher!

Q: How long have you been teaching Chemistry?

Mrs. Tell: I’ve been teaching Chemistry and Math for 19 years. 7 online. Took 6 years off in the middle.

Q: What got you interested in the subject?

Mrs. Tell: My Chemistry teacher in HS was not very good. I was confused through much of the class and it wasn’t until taking college Chemistry that I understood the subject. I was a good student and was annoyed that I earned a B in that class. I thought I could do a better job than what I had. Plus, everyone in my family is a teacher. My mom special ed, sister is elementary and my brother is MS Math and now principal. My parents saved money since we were born to pay for us to go to college. Education has always been very important in my family.

Q: Do you have any hobbies?

Mrs. Tell: Cake decorating and hosting parties. My favorite thing to do with my downtime is watch movies. I used to work in a movie theater so I think that is where it all started. I see a movie in the theater at least once a week. I love all types except I can’t watch horror. Popcorn can definitely be a balanced meal.

Q: What is your favorite book or movie, and why?

Mrs. Tell: It is so hard to pick a favorite movie since I watch so many.  Some of my favorite classics are Rocky, Star Wars (any episode except 1 and 2), Christmas Vacation and Top Gun. My favorite movie of 2018 is “A Star is Born”—I’ve seen it 3 times. I plan an Oscar party every year for my family, but my 15-year-old son always wins the most correct. (we have a competition)

Q: Any tips/something inspiring that has helped you, or that you like?

Mrs. Tell: I’m ultra organized and efficient. I work from several lists throughout the day and live by a calendar. I’m always planning ahead and focused on what is coming next. When I start a new semester I have every class and lesson that I am going to teach planned. I never go to bed with papers to grade or phone calls to return. I make a dinner menu for Monday-Thursday and then eat out all weekend. (something I am working to improve). My advice I would give to a student studying virtually would be to maintain a schedule. It is so easy to fall behind and “think” you will do something later. It is very stressful to be in a perpetual cycle of trying to get caught up. Ask for help when you need it.

Q: Other thoughts and interesting things?

Mrs. Tell: I met my husband in preschool. Our parents still live a mile apart from each other. We were friends all through grade school, junior high and high school. Attended the same college for 2 years- still just friends. Went our separate ways for the remainder of college. We met up again at our HS 10 year reunion and realized we both lived in Hillsboro, Oregon (we grew up in Bremerton, WA and attended WA colleges). We lived in the same apartment complex. Married a year later. He is a hardware designer at Intel but it still bothers him that I beat him at the timed math tests in 4th grade.

I believe strongly in equal rights for all. I am an activist and have worked on political campaigns.  My dogs are very smart. They have listened to every lesson I have ever taught. They are trained to be quiet while I have my headset and mic on. As soon as I take it off, they jump up and start barking.

My husband and I are both science/math/technical people…but our 2 kids hate math and science and love art and creative writing. It totally freaks us out and we are not sure where we went wrong. (just kidding)

Thank you so much, Mrs. Tell for letting me do our first spotlight on you, and Thank you for being such an amazing teacher!!

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