Shoreham-Wading River School District

The Work We Do: Mary Mitchell of Shoreham-Wading River High School

My name is Mary Mitchell. I’m a health teacher at Shoreham-Wading River High School.

I teach tenth grade. I spend a lot of my day prepping and planning. My lessons are very activity-based, so there’s a lot of preparation to do.

I spend some of my free time at school talking to students, building relationships or maybe giving them some advice on some of things they might be dealing with. I also run a program in the school called Natural Helpers. It’s a peer helping program. We do a lot of suicide prevention, how to help friends and where to go if you’re in need. I have over 90 members right now.

I have the best job ever. The best part for me is when students tell me how they used the information I taught them in dangerous situations or in their everyday life. So it’s a really, really rewarding job.

I always say that high school kids are some of the best people in the whole world. My favorite part about my job would probably be how I can see results immediately with some of the things I teach. Kids will come back and say they made changes, or I’ll get parents who say my kids are talking about what you’re teaching at home.

The other cool thing about my job is that I have every other student before they graduate. So for 16 years, I’ve gotten to know a lot of Shoreham-Wading River community members.

My favorite topic to teach is probably nutrition. Mental health is obviously my wheelhouse. I learn the most about that. I love to help friends help friends. I love to see friends helping friends.

I feel like I have the best job because the topics are all here and now for them. It’s like this is it. This is their lives. They don’t have to think, how does this relate to my life? They know it.

As I’m teaching it, they’re processing it and hopefully they’re thinking about their own decisions and thinking about how they can maybe change for the better.

Everything I do means a lot to me, spending 16 years in the same building and I know I’ll spend another twenty-something here as well.

“The Work We Do” is a News-Review multimedia project profiling workers around Riverhead Town. It is made possible by Peconic Landing in Greenport. See more photos on Instagram @riverheadnewsreview