Teacher Feature: Mr. Bill Mitchell

Teacher Feature: Mr. Bill Mitchell

Welcome to the next iteration of our teacher feature, this time starring the expert of psychology and our senior sponsor Mr. Bill Mitchell.

Q: What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to?

A: I went to the Speak Now World Tour when Taylor Swift was in Pittsburgh on June 18th, 2011. I was in the first row with Mrs. Mitchell, and during that concert when Taylor Swift was performing, she looked at me, she smiled, and she winked. I thought, you know, there was some chemistry for a little bit there. Years later, she came out with her album Red. I thought there would be a song about me, this guy she made eye contact with in Pittsburgh. I was really disappointed that she didn’t make a song about me. There’s another reason why that was the best concert ever. If you ever go to a concert where it’s a female lead, you find out that in the stadium there’s no one in the men’s bathroom. Had to go to the bathroom? You could go, be out, and hit the concert. So yeah, best concert ever.

Q: What’s your fattest moment?

A: I’ve had so many fat moments in my life that I can’t just single one out right now.

We’ve all had fat moments in our life, you can’t think of one in particular. I’m going to have to answer that with ‘I live that fat life every day.’ There might be one day a week where I have my fattest moment and the next week I up it. When you live that fat life, you live that fat life for life.

Q: What is your favorite student slang and can you use it in a sentence?

A: Anything that Jack Salego says, so I’m going to let Jack say something because that’s my favorite student slang.

Jack: I mean, my favorite word is ‘word.’ Goes with everything. Every 5 seconds I say word.

M: Use it in a sentence.

Jack: Word.

M: There you go. I would have to say that my favorite Jack Salego quote has to be ‘things are gas.’ Last week, I had two Titan bowls.

Jack: Three.

M: Those two Titan bowls? They were gas, and they gave me gas.

Q: What’s the most irresponsible purchase you’ve made?

A:The most irresponsible purchase I made is a katana for my fear of the zombie apocalypse. I spent an unreasonable amount of money on a legit, real sword that has been sharpened with the idea that if we ever hit a zombie apocalypse, I’ll be able to become Michonne from The Walking Dead and go out and handle some business.

Q: What is the first car you bought?

1997 burnt orange Chevy Cavalier

A: I saved all my money and I bought a 1997 Chevy Cavalier for $3,200. It was a sweet two door car. Burnt orange was the color. There was nothing like it, it was fantastic. I still love that car to this day. If I ever won the Powerball, I would go out and try to find a 1997 two door Chevy Cavalier and have it reconditioned so I could drive that car all out. I put 177,000 miles on that car until it was done. It is dear to my heart.

Q: What is the most rewarding topic for you to teach?

A: It is a project that Mrs. Neumann and I put together in our honors econ classes that’s all about personal finance. We call it the Financial Futures Project. It’s basically having the students go ahead and research their future career. They’ll see how much they’re going to make, divvy that up into a monthly budget, and then see how much their college loans are going to be, how much their apartment is going to cost, how much their car payments will be, even finding out how much groceries cost. But that’s probably not the best part. My favorite part to teach in that project when they’re researching is when they get to their mid-twenties and they have to get married. They have to find out how much a wedding costs, how much their honeymoon is going to cost, and it’s the conversations that come out of all of these students being 17 or 18 years old having no idea truly how much something costs that I enjoy so much. It’s probably one of the most rewarding things to do whenever we can go ahead and help you guys and coach you guys through what you’re getting in the future.

Q: What’s your favorite sport to coach?

A: I coach football, baseball, and basketball, but out of those three sports, I love coaching football the most. I have a very unhealthy love for the sport of football–almost more than my own family–as both a fan and as a coach. A lot of people have different passions, but there is nothing more fulfilling in your adult life than to be able to share your passion with someone else. Some people are passionate about music and they like to play music because they want to share that passion with somebody else, right? I love football. I love talking about football. I love playing football. I love betting on football. I love coaching football. I get to share something that I’m extremely passionate about with a lot of other students in Shaler. For me, the game is teaching kids about sacrifice and discipline. It teaches them how to be tough, teaches them how to work together as a team, and how they have to communicate as a team. It’s the sport that takes 11 players. It takes 11 players on the field at one time working together as one unit. As a social studies teacher, I appreciate that idea. If you go back to the ancient Greek days and when you had Spartans and stuff like that, you had a line of people working together. You had a small group of people that could go ahead and take out an entire army based on that ‘we’re all on the same page’ mentality. There’s something about football getting 11 people on the same page, doing the same thing to work together for a common cause that is very rewarding.

Q: You have a free night yourself and no responsibilities. What are you doing?

A: Well, I do have four children and a wife that likes to always do things if there is downtime. So if I get downtime in my life, which I never get…I can’t even picture it. Here, I’m going to walk you through my free time. I’m going to leave work and go home at 3:00. I have a free night ahead of me, so I’m definitely going to change into some gym shorts and a t-shirt. I’m going to go plop down on my beanbag, boot up that PS5, and log about 2 hours of video games — a little bit of Fortnite, a little bit of Call of Duty, a little bit of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. It’s going to get me to about 5:00. At that point, I’m gonna start having the discussion in my head: ‘where am I ordering pizza from?’ That’s the key thing. A lot of great pizza places are in the area. If I had to call a place, I’m probably either going to go to Milano’s on that Shaler-Hampton border or I’m going to go get pizza from Monte Cello’s. When I get that pizza–this is why I told you you got to live that fat life every day–I’m going to also get a dozen wings and loaded fries. I might throw in breadsticks as well. Then what I might do is call up some of the boys and see if the boys want to come over, hang out, you know, watch whatever sports are on TV. Just have some good times, you know? Talk a little bit about life and reflect on things. Then, to be honest, if the boys don’t have anything we can do, what I’m probably going to do is go back to playing video games. That’s kind of what I do. If everyone’s leaving me alone, the sad thing is that my bedtime is about 10:30. The idea of having a free night where I actually don’t have to do anything means I’m going to go to bed early so I can sleep a little bit because I don’t get to sleep early. So that’s my free night. It’s kind of boring, but when I’m always on the go and I have a moment, I kind of want to just relax and chill and not go anywhere else. I’m just chilling at my house, but I don’t get that. Ever.

Q: Is there a particular song that you’ve been vibing with recently? 

A: There is not a particular song I’m vibing to right now, but what I am vibing to right now is something I’ve discovered on SoundCloud. I have discovered SoundCloud EDM remixes or House Remixes. I am enjoying House Remixes of songs from the 90’s, 2000’s, 2010’s, and current music. So there’s no song in particular that I’m vibing to, but I am vibing and any type of house music that I can find on SoundCloud and I am trying to find DJs that upload their shows and, to be honest, I have a mini rave in my head going on whenever I listen to that. I’m loving it right now.

Q: What would your last meal be? 

A: This is easy. You could ask anyone that knows me and they’ll know; I have it specifically written down. It’s going to start off with a New York strip steak from Hoss’s Steak and Sea house, followed up with a loaf of their delicious garlic bread. After that, I’m moving on to a half pound roast beef sandwich from Arby’s. After, I’m going to get some Pizza Hut breadsticks in there. Then I’m moving on to a Long John Silvers family meal: all chicken, extra fries, and extra hush puppies. The next thing I’m ordering is a large cheese pizza from Sir Pizza. Then, you gotta wash that all down with something, right? So I’m going to wash that down with two liters of diet Mountain Dew and 2 gallons of Gallagher’s lemon iced tea. It’s a specific type of iced tea that’s up in the Johnstown area. If that was my last meal, that would be my fattest moment of all time. If I know I’m going out, I’m going out like that.

Q: How are you feeling about a Psych 2 class being included in the curriculum now? 

A: I’m super excited and kind of sad. I’ve had some great classes over the past couple of years where there have been students who have expressed a desire to get a second section of psychology, and we’ve tried in the past to get it. We had another year where our principals actually came out and asked, ‘hey, are there any new electives that social studies would like to add?’ So I wrote up another proposal for a second section of Psych and submitted it after it didn’t go through the first time, and I was surprised that this time they actually were okay with it. I’m really excited for it and we are calling it Advanced Topics in Psychology. A lot of the material in the Principles of Psychology class (Psych 1) is foundational stuff; it’s all content related, while the Psych two course is going to really dive into the application of things. We’re going to look at things like how sports psychologists work with athletes and use the things that we learned in Psych one and apply them. ‘How do you apply to a sports situation?’

We’re going to look at a forensic psychologist or the analysis of witness testimonies or even just playing the two truths and a lie game. We’re going to look at positive psychology and how humor and laughter is good for your mental health. I’m very excited about it. I’m disappointed for the kids I know that have been fighting for it for years and then they can’t take it, but I also know that there’s a lot of juniors and a lot of sophomores that have already expressed to me that they’re excited for the opportunity to take it next year. I wish there was a way that I could have been doing it this second semester for any of the seniors that wanted to take it, but I’m definitely excited. I know it’s a lot more work for me, but this is something I wanted and I know a lot of students wanted, so I’m putting a lot of time in behind the scenes to get it rolling for next year. 

Q: If you could live somewhere that’s not in Pittsburgh, where would you live?

A: I love Pittsburgh and I love western Pennsylvania, but the one thing I’ve noticed as I get older and I go to a beach in the summer is that I love it there too. There’s no specific city I can tell you, but I would love to live on a beachfront property somewhere from Virginia Beach down to Florida. As long as it has a beachfront, I would love to go ahead and live there. There is nothing better than the sound of waves, not even laying on the beach and being out there in the sun or anything like that. The warmth has a big thing to do with it too, just the sound and the atmosphere and the vibes of living around that. It beats the cloudy and murky place that is the Pittsburgh area. So yeah, anywhere that involves a beach. It has to be beachfront though; I’m not living on the bay side, I’m living on the ocean side.

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