New English teacher joins school with 11 years of teaching experience

September 24, 2022 — by Atrey Desai, Zack Zhang and Andy Zhu
Photo by Andy Zhu
New English teacher Mary Palisoul teaching English 10
UCLA graduate and English teacher Mary Palisoul resumed her teaching career after taking a break during the pandemic.

The school welcomed new English teacher Mary Palisoul, who is resuming her 11-year teaching career after a brief pause during two years of the pandemic to take care of her young daughters. She is teaching two English 10 classes and two English 9 classes.

Palisoul’s connection to English can be traced all the way back to her childhood, when she said she enjoyed reading outside of school and writing about her ideas. While studying at UCLA, from where she graduated after double majoring in Spanish and English Literature, she found her love and passion for teaching while volunteering at the UCLA Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars.

“I worked in a literary agency and we worked with a lot of authors who wanted to sell their manuscripts to publishers,” Palisoul said. “In the evenings, I taught English conversation classes to international graduate students at UCLA and I really fell in love with teaching so I decided to get my Master’s in teaching.”

She started teaching in 2007 at Newton North High in Boston before moving to the Bay Area and teaching at several local schools.

In Palisoul’s 11 years in the profession, she has been through many unforgettable memories, which she believes have brought her joy while showing her the value of teaching and helping her students. She finds pride in the growth of her students. 

“One of my students l wrote a book about how she lost her father and dealt with this grief,” Palisoul said. “She dedicated the book to me and was very grateful for the support I gave her during that time.”

Palisoul said one of the greatest challenges she faces as a teacher is giving helpful, specific feedback while grading — there’s limited time but every student deserves the same level of focus.  

Being a shy student herself in high school, Palisoul knows how important it is for the teacher to make sure all students can participate and feel comfortable to share their thoughts. 

“In every class, I plan multiple opportunities for students to have their voices heard, to break through that barrier,” she said. “I try to create a comfortable environment so that all students are able to share their ideas.”

Palisoul said she felt welcomed and supported by the English department. She is starting to feel her “rhythm” and is glad to continue teaching and working closely with students.

Palisoul sees how hardworking and academically driven the students are in her classes. She said she’s impressed with how much students care about extracurricular activities, as well as how much they respect and care for each other and teachers.

“I am hoping to find a new professional home, a place where I can continue to grow as an educator and collaborate with other teachers,” Palisoul said. “I feel very comfortable here so far, so I am excited about what the future will bring!”

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