Author Alexis Mitchell's life as a high school teacher and college professor
Alexis Mitchell is a self-published West Indian author (latest book The Attic) and educator from New York, promoting the importance of education and diversity.
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Alexis Mitchell is a self-published West Indian author (latest book The Attic) and educator from New York. Her mother is Indian and Grenadian, and her father is Bajan and English. Her paternal ancestry traces to London, England and Barbados. Her father was born and raised in Barbados and came to the U.S as a teenager—a big transition from his Caribbean culture. Although Alexis' mother was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, her upbringing was extremely influenced by her parents’ respective cultures.
Alexis is the oldest of four, two brothers and a sister. She started writing at the age of eight, after her parents got divorced—a difficult time for the family, resulting in her father moving back to Barbados. “Trying to navigate those emotions and dynamic shifts at such a young age, forced me to grow up,” Alexis explains.
Not having a father figure was challenging for Alexis, who had to become mom number two while her mother, a nurse, would work doubles and overnight shifts to provide for the family. “I had to either cook or clean, [and] pack their lunches. I was the one signing their planners to let their teachers know they did their homework,” Mitchell asserted.
Although she is grateful for the close relationship she shares with her younger siblings, it doesn’t change the fact that “I was thrown into that parental role and I feel like I lost a lot of my personal childhood because of it,” she explains. “Our relationship has always been closed, but now that we are all in our twenties we are trying to build a friendship, and let go of the fact that ‘you are sister now, you don’t need to be mom’ because we’re all adults.”
Despite taking on a parental role at a young age, Alexis was able to complete her Bachelor of Arts in English with a writing track, and in May 2022, graduate with a Masters of Arts in English Literature from Long Island University.
Alexis is a high school English teacher for Family and Children Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing assistance to children, families, seniors and communities. She works for an educational program offered by Family and Children Association, that focuses on working with at-risk youths. Her students are either 18-21 years of age, depending at what age they choose to enter the program.
The nonprofit recently received funding to provide services to all districts in Long Island, New York—targeting low graduation rate, low income families, and underrepresented individuals—allowing the association to have more room to help kids.
In fact, Alexis just got another job as an English instructor at a college in Brooklyn. The program she is working for is called Male Development and Empowerment Center— and was established in 2000 with the purpose of increasing the male student population at Medgar Evers College, as stated by its website.
Ultimately, she believes success has a way of finding its way because “what you put out is what you get back,” Alexis assured. “The time and effort you put into the things you genuinely love is your success.”
The author of I Write, Therefore I am; I Write Therefore I Am: Exposed and her latest release The Attic, wants to continue to write and publish books. As for teaching, “that goal is to remain a lifelong learner,” Alexis emphasizes. “I always want to know about new resources, new ways to engage in the classroom. I always want to figure out what can be done to improve what I’m already doing.”
The thought of feeling like something is enough never occurs to her, because “there’s always room to find new ways to make learning more engaging,” Alexis concluded. “Finding new ways to be innovative. Finding new ways to remain creative in both [author and teaching].”
The soon-to-be college educator values the flexibility and freedom teaching provides—especially at this level. “You have more leeway on how you want to navigate your classroom [and] the things you are able to show and discuss,” Mitchell reassures.
On the subject of freedom and flexibility, representation in higher education is crucial to Alexis, who explains there’s a lack of educators of color—“I know that the world of academia is white male dominated for the most part” she explains. “I wanted to be that representation [of a person of color in higher education]. Even if the class is predominantly one race or ethnicity, I still want to be able to introduce literature that they were not necessarily exposed to before. Just so that there is that safe space to talk about different cultures, beliefs, and ideas, and create a sense of belonging.”
Her motto is “by doing what you love you inspire and awaken the hearts of others,” a sentiment that propels her to keep walking in her “truth, love, and passion.”