By: Erin Holly McDermott, Editorial Staff (‘23)

Anyone who has had the wonderful opportunity to visit the friendly, welcoming environment of Room 611 knows the truth behind this article: Mrs. Frissora is one of the most giving, selfless, attentive teachers in this building. Personally, she has positively impacted not only my high school experience but my own life and aspirations. She is highly educated and experienced, having past work experience for magazines and newspapers; however, her teaching is truly exceptional. She balances a high-pressure AP environment with fun, playful activities and discussions with grace. Mrs. Frissora teaches sophomore English, AP English Language and Composition, and the journalism classes. She also advises TNT (Teens Need Teens), Asian Appreciation Club, and the Literary Magazine. I conducted an interview with Mrs. Frissora to learn more about her. 

Where did you attend college? 

“I graduated from Ohio University (majored in journalism, minored in English and history). Then I went to graduate school at Teachers College at Columbia University for my master’s in education.”

Why did you choose to teach English specifically? 

“Honestly, I can’t imagine teaching anything else. Before I became a teacher, I worked as a journalist in magazines. I love writing, learning people’s stories, and telling those stories. My mom is an English teacher and so is my older sister, so I always told myself, “I’ll never be a teacher.” Yet, I had the itch for a long time, and when I finally gave in to that voice telling me to try it, I realized that teaching English is still storytelling. Not only do we get to explore and investigate great literature, poetry, and art, but I get to help students in their journey to read and write the world. Now I’m more about helping you all tell your own stories.” 

Favorite in-class book you teach (at any level)? 

“I really love teaching The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, which is funny because I hated that book the first time I read it. But when I started to teach it and see it with new eyes, it moved me in a new way. It’s a coming-of-age story about someone dealing with growing-up, awkward teen moments, loss, trauma, family, relationships–and it has moments of humor and heartbreak. I wonder what my students would say is their favorite to read.”

To answer her question, as a two-year student, I also loved Catcher in the Rye. However controversial in my opinion, the book offers a familiar perspective of the teenager’s experience. I simply could not put the book down while we were reading it as a class.   

Do you believe AP classes are an advantageous experience for you and the students?

“Yes, I do believe AP classes are advantageous for both my students and me. For my students, AP courses can be a great gateway to engaging with college-level content. And if you score well on the exam, and the college to which you’re applying accepts your score as credit, you can save thousands of dollars in tuition. They should always be an option, but they may not suit every student. There are other avenues to earning college credit in high school, and if you are someone who is juggling multiple AP courses at once, the test prep plus exam week can be stressful. For me, as a former AP student and AP English Language and Composition educator, I find my courses extremely advantageous personally. It’s one of my favorite courses to teach. It offers me an avenue to connect content to the world in a way that I really enjoy. It’s not a typical English class (or so I hope). As a former journalist, I love bringing in journalistic pieces and working on stylized writing with my students. I work hard to make sure that it is not a purely test-prep class.” 

What’s your funniest experience with your students? 

“Ooh, this is a hard one because I have to pick something that is safe to print! Let me think on this one…”

I would just like to personally take this opportunity to thank Mrs. Frissora for everything she has done for her students. She has a unique skill of not only learning—but truly caring—about small details of her students’ lives. Mrs. Frissora watches out for competitions, scholarships, and events that her students may find interesting or important. She has one of the most genuine relationships with students, monitoring our mental health, providing alternative lessons, and even allowing students to have snacks during high-anxiety times. I would highly recommend any student even thinking about English classes in the coming years consider any of Mrs. Frissora’s classes.