April Mix: Second-grade teacher, Bellefonte Elementary School
When April Mix walks into her second-grade classroom at Bellefonte Elementary School, she becomes more than just a teacher – she also acts like a mom, friend, doctor, nurse and mentor.
“I’m not just a teacher,” Mix said. “You become so much more in that short amount of time each day. There are so many different roles we play and I think that’s why I love being a teacher. There are so many things we do beyond that.”
Mix, a Bellefonte-area native, has been teaching in the district for 12 years – 11 of which have been at Bellefonte Elementary and one year at Benner Elementary School. She has also taught fourth grade.
Saying she always imagined being a teacher since she was a child playing “school,” Mix also grew up in a family of educators. Her father was a longtime health and physical education teacher at Bellefonte Elementary School and her mother was a longtime second-grade teacher at Marion-Walker Elementary School. Her brother also teaches.
“I love the enthusiasm of the kids; I love knowing they can be independent at this age, and balance how much they need you and how they can lead independently,” she said.
Mix graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education from Lock Haven University, and has a master’s degree in elementary math and reading from Walden University. With all her education and hands-on teaching experience, she knows just how to adapt to any kind of educational setting. This school year with the COVID-19 pandemic, is no exception.
“I started realizing just how hard things got last year (during the school closure),” Mix said. “I started reassuring parents that things were going to be fine, and when they (students) come back to me in the fall, whether in-person or virtually, I’m going to do my job to get them where they need to be. So many parents were putting so much pressure on themselves, but it’s about taking a breath, relaxing and knowing it’s all going to be OK. We’re all in this together.”
During the closure, she said she missed most not being able to physically see students learn and have “ah-ha” moments. Now, with the chance to physically have students back in the classroom, it’s an exciting feeling.
Mix said she uses the beginning of the year to work with students to establish a classroom community with teambuilding activities, class rules and helping acquaint students with the classroom, which acts as their home base in the school. She also actively connects with families to help with the educational overlap that goes from the classroom to the home.
She’s also excited to share the school year with her son Cayden, who’s in kindergarten at Bellefonte Elementary School. Calling him her “pride and joy,” Mix said the two are active together at school and in the community.
“He’s been waking up everyday and saying ‘we get to go to school together, mommy’!” she said. “He’s always felt like he’s been a part of Bellefonte Elementary School even when he hasn’t started. I’m grateful for this district and community and school, and my heart’s happy knowing this is where he’ll be.”
*By Brit Milazzo, public relations director, BASD