Courtney Bell: One of the Coolest Teacher’s Around

A teacher whose future continues to grow brighter.

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Courtney Bell is an English teacher here at Oak Hills High School. Many people recognize her for her love of teaching, Harry Potter, and her pet dog. Ms. Bell knew at an early age that teaching was what she wanted to pursue and has now been at OHHS for two years teaching subjects like English I Pre-AP and English 2.  

“I actually knew when I was five, because my whole family is made up of teachers. Even though I was the youngest of the grandkids I was always the one kid who was the teacher, you know, when we were play acting teacher with my sisters and cousins,” said Ms. Bell.

(Left to right) Ms. Velasco, Ms. Henson, Mrs. English and Ms. Bell at the All-District Staff Training last year.

Ms. Bell earned her B.A. in English with a minor in Education, a Single Subject English Credential, and a M.A. in Teaching from the University of California Irvine. She even spent five months abroad in Paris, France, which resulted in her being able to speak French. And although Ms. Bell has many accomplishments, including her various degrees, she would still like to teach other subjects in the future.

“I want to teach, at some point, history.  I really love anatomy and physiology, and I really want to teach French because I do speak French actually. It just takes time to get your certification and I have a couple of different degrees but I am just tired of school. I feel like a senior with senioritis, I don’t want to go back to school again so it may take me a few years to actually go back and get those degrees,” said Ms. Bell.

A photo taken while Bell lived in France for five and a half months.


Having such a passionate drive for teaching, Ms. Bell occasionally finds inspiration from things around her and even apps play a role in getting creative in the classroom.

“I think about what I find interesting and I also use a lot of social media like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, all that good stuff all of the time. I have a large network of friends who became teachers so we share a lot of stuff back and forth,” she said.

By using these different methods to come up with lessons and activities, Ms.Bell keeps her students involved by getting them completely immersed in hands-on teaching routes.

A reading nook located in the corner of Ms.Bell’s classroom.

“I do a lot of student centered stuff, so what that means is I like having students coming up with ideas and having students take control of their own education so I have a lot of projects where they are teaching each other,” said Ms. Bell.

Although Ms. Bell makes sure her students are taking control of their high school education and maintaining their education, she had a completely different high school experience. Her teaching style and motivation seems to stem from the opportunities she took while in college.

“High school wasn’t great, it was a struggle and I definitely had some places where I really screwed up. (In college) You’re paying for the opportunity to come here so you have to take advantage of that, so I was like ‘You know what, I’m going to do everything,’ so I did, which now that I look back on it I just think ‘dear god I’m still tired just from thinking about that,’” reflected Ms. Bell.

Courtney Bell while in Ollantaytambo, Peru last summer.

Keeping busy in college was not tough for Ms. Bell, filling up her schedule with clubs and work she quickly immersed herself into college life. Keeping multiple jobs and getting involved in school activities kept her busy along with working on getting her degree.

“I was an orientation leader, I was an RA (Resident Assistant), I was in a bunch of different clubs, I was in a Harry Potter club, I was in a tutoring club, there was like eight or nine different things that I did. Just a bunch of different things, I was working two jobs for most of the time that I was in college to pay for college,” said Ms. Bell.

Ms. Bell has made it a point to encourage her students and help them walk through this chapter of their high school life. Making her students the reason to get out of bed in the morning and really letting them know that they can get through school and pursue their dreams. Teachers like this leave long lasting impressions on students, pushing her kids in the right direction and hopefully getting them to realize why she is so passionate about not only teaching students, but being a part of their lives as well.

“I really truly believe that every student here has the potential to do something amazing with their future. I just wish that they knew that too… It just makes me sad to see students who have just almost given up, you’re only a high school student and you’ve already given up on life and it’s disheartening for me,” said Ms. Bell.

Ms.Bell and her mother at the Grand Canyon.

 

Flipping through three different books, riddled with post it notes, scribbles, and looking worn from reading she picked her favorite quote from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.”

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