Friday, January 4, 2019

Coach/Teacher spotlight on mother and son team

By Matt Pascarella

Lisa Hodge and her son, Mitch have education and athletics in their veins. Aside from both being coaches, Lisa is a Language Arts and Social Studies teacher at the Windham Middle School and Mitch Hodge is a Behavioral Interventionalist at the Windham Primary School.

Lisa graduated with a communications degree and was unsure of what she wanted to do after college.
Mitch and Lisa Hodge
Hodge loved working with children, so she volunteered to work and observe in a classroom. After spending one day in a South Portland Middle School classroom, she thought ‘this is fun!’ South Portland appreciated how comfortable she was with the kids and asked if she would apply for the educational technician opening they had. She did and was hired. This opportunity encouraged Lisa to go further into her new-found career, by eventually obtaining her master’s in education.'

Lisa’s path to Windham began with tutoring. She was trained in a reading program designed to help dyslexic adults. Windham needed an educational technician the following year and she got the job. The year after that, a language arts position opened at Windham Middle School and Lisa was hired.

She had always played sports. Lisa volunteered working with kids and did a lot of supervising of South Portland recreational programs. She coached her kids when they were little. “Playing sports is something we just do,” Lisa explained. She had volunteered to coach fourth and fifth grade basketball through the South Portland Recreational Department and this adventure created an opening to become a middle school coach. She currently plays in a senior women’s basketball league and coaches eighth grade girls’ basketball, middle school swimming and first team girls’ soccer.

Mitch Hodge says that teaching is a quality embedded in him based on the attribute his caring mother passed on to him. In high school, becoming a teacher crossed his mind, but it wasn’t until after high school when he began working with special needs adults that it was clear he wanted to keep helping and teaching in order to make other people’s lives better.

Hodge originally wanted to be a psychologist but decided that wasn’t a good fit.  He took an acting class as an elective in college and the teacher saw something in him and pushed for Hodge to continue with acting. Hodge got his degree in acting with a minor in psychology. “Acting helps with teaching,” Mitch stated. “You have to have a sense of humor and be on your toes.”

He got a job working with special needs adults at Community Resources for Justice in New Hampshire. Mitch later worked for Woodfords Family Services in Maine providing in home support.

It wasn’t until he substituted for Jody Colangelo at Windham Primary School that he found his calling. He was working one-on-one with a girl and it was working so well, the Primary School asked if he wanted to stay. Mitch admitted his mom lead him to the path of teaching, but Colangelo’s influence helped him narrow down what he wanted to teach. Mitch is a Behavioral Interventionalist and is also working on his masters. In two years, he plans to have his own classroom as a special education teacher.

Mitch has played sports most of his life. When he was much younger, he spent a lot of time with his mom, who coached a lot. After college, Mitch knew he wanted to be on the field again. As a result, he is currently the freshman boys’ soccer coach; a position multiple people encouraged him to take.
The comradery created on a team is important – it’s another family. Mitch enjoys being a part of the kid’s lives.

Both mom and son agree they feel lucky to be able to do what they do, and they enjoy their jobs so much they admit it doesn’t feel like work.  

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