Mentzel reflects on her first year at Liberty

Karinn Sytsma, Managing Editor

You might not expect coming to teach at a new school in the middle of the year to be easy, but for Spanish teacher Erica Mentzel, that’s exactly what it was. After replacing Spanish teacher Meghann Thompson for the second semester, Mentzel has taught Spanish 1 and 3 classes.

“Coming to Liberty in the middle of the year was easier than I expected because everyone was really kind and supportive and helpful and welcoming,” Mentzel said.

Before coming to Liberty, Mentzel had many different teaching experiences. She student-taught in Pennsylvania, taught at an American school in Mexico, then taught in Pennsylvania again for six years.

“There’s a really nice trust in the teachers here. The administration seems to trust the teachers to do their job and do it well. The other teachers are all a cohesive unit who really support each other and help each other out when they need it. The way they cover each other’s classes is really pleasant and contributes to a positive environment,” Mentzel said.

But aside from the supportive administration, Liberty is very different from the school she taught at in Mexico. They had multiple breaks throughout the day and little to no homework every night.

“There was a cultural difference there. In Mexico, students all talk while the professor is lecturing, and the professor was constantly talking over people. And in terms of being respectful to teachers, I love that you guys say “Thank you,” when you leave. I’ve never been to a school like that. The first time someone said it thought, ‘What’s going on? Why are they thanking me?’ and then I realized that these kids are just nice, well raised, and polite, and I really appreciate that!” Mentzel said. “It definitely doesn’t go unnoticed.”

Mentzel will be teaching Spanish at Liberty again next year, but as Mrs. Garcia instead, as she’s getting married in June. But before the year ends, she has one last message for students:

“If you see me in the halls, say ‘Hola!’”