Sarah Mittlefehldt, a professor at Green Mountain College. Teaches in the Environmental Science field, she is a great representation of what teaching is like at the college. I had Sarah for the freshman introductory class Images of Nature. I was in the honors section with her, and the class that I had with her really changed me as a person.
First you should know about Sarah…She does NOT like it when students are tardy, late, or absent. She is really tough on those kinds of things. That is really the only thing that she can be a little rough around the edges with. Besides that, Sarah is very motivated about what she teaches. I remember one morning, she was so excited that we were going to discuss some of her favorite authors (she was the only one excited). That motivation and interest in what she teaches is one of the many reasons why her teaching is so unique, effective, and interesting.
She does not think she is very funny, but of course, being modest as she is, this is to be expected from her. In reality, she is extremely funny. Now, she does not crack jokes all the time, but she occasionally says some good ones, or just some funny comments. She is a teacher who likes to have fun in the class room. Of course, she enjoys teaching, but she also puts a lot of emphasis on making the classroom a pleasant environment for the students.
The classroom is an introductory English class. And so, it has a lot of reading, and a lot of essays to write. But it is not a typical English class. For example, we take a lot of field trips to destinations that relate to the material that we are reading in class. The trips are exciting. It is always good to get out of the class room and learn from things that are out in the world.
In grading, she is gentle but firm. She is a fair grader when it comes to papers. She has fairly high expectations of her students, and this enables them to do much better on papers because she gives extensive lessons on how she wants her papers and what students need to do to obtain an A.
Her class room discussions are very engaging. Many students are usually involvedin daily discussions. She loves to get perspectives from diverse places. In our class, we had many international students, myself included, and so our class got to know opinions and beliefs from many different countries. This was very beneficial, because it allowed to see issues through a totally different lens.
Her Images of Nature class changed my whole opinion on the environment. All my life, living in Europe, in big cities, only being exposed to the countryside during the summers, I did not think of environmental issues. It was if they did not affect me. I was really ignorant on issues of that sort. After taking Sarah’s class, I developed personal beliefs about the environment. I became informed on current environmental issues, and became more active in terms of making a difference in the environment.
Sarah once thanked me for reminding her why she does the things that she does. I thank her for opening my mind up to a totally new world.