Teacher Shoutout

Mrs. Karamitsos

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Teacher Shoutout

Mickayla Pinon, Writer/Photographer

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Mrs. Kim Karamitsos, is an English teacher here at Righetti who has been with our school since since 1996. She received her undergraduate degree in English at UCSB, teaching credential and Masters degree at USC. In 1994, Mrs. Karamitsos started her first year of teaching at North High School in Torrance, which is right by Long Beach. Two years later, she began working at Righetti High School in August after marrying her husband, John, who grew up Santa Maria.

How did Mrs. Karamitsos come to be a teacher? Well, it’s quiet a long story. Her mother was a junior high English teacher, she told me in an interview, and she always “saw her with a stack of student papers.” “She graded papers at my basketball practices, in the dentist’s waiting room, at restaurants”. Mrs. Karamitsos said she always thought, “Heck no I am going to do that in my life”. But then she saw “the reactions of [her mom’s] ex-students when she ran into them outside of school”. She noticed how “they were always thrilled to see [her mom] and grateful to have experienced her class. This was one of the perks of being a teacher that attracted Mrs. Karamitsos. After graduating from UCSB, she lived with her parents “doing a series of temporary jobs to fill the time”. She said, “I didn’t have a lot of direction”. Then her father got a job working for the dental school at USC, and one of the perks of that position was that all of his kids could attend classes there for free. So, since she wasn’t obliged to anything permanent, she “entered the teaching program”.

Above all, Mrs. Karamitsos favorite thing about being a teacher “is making connections with students”. She wants all of her students to know that; stating “I hope that I care about them as students learning English Language Arts, but that I also really care about them as young people navigating their way through life”.

In her opinion, what makes a good teacher is one who “really cares about her students—not just about their grades”. “We shouldn’t define their worth/success by a letter grade.” She added, “I also think a good teacher shows her students who she really is—teachers need to come off as people.” And lastly said “a good teacher should always have what I call a ‘re-start button'”. “When there is an issue with a kid, maybe his/her behavior is driving a teacher crazy, he/she should always be able to press that button, forgive and/or forget, and begin anew. We can’t just write off kids; they are young and we need to allow them to make mistakes”. In closing, Mrs. Karamitos told me “this ‘re-start button’ is important to have in our lives, not just our classrooms! We need to be able to forgive each other and start again”.