Humans of RV: Ms. Sorrell

RV’s new math teacher joins the school at particularly difficult time, and speaks to RV’s welcoming environment

Andre Dominic Faigal, Student Life Writer

The Humans of RV project is a weekly column based on Brandon Stanton’s seminal “Humans of New York” project, which seeks to “catalog the city’s inhabitants” through photography and brief interviews. RV seeks to expand on this project with our own “cataloging” of RV students and an examination into all the unique perspectives here at school. 

Note: this transcript has been edited and condensed for publication purposes.


I had my son in April of 2019 and I took maternity leave after. I then took an extended leave to take care of my son for his first year at home during the 2019-2020 school year. I would have never guessed a pandemic would occur and that obviously took a turn on everyone’s lives. Come fall of 2020, I got hired as a math teacher at RV and I am entering a school year into unfamiliar grounds and environments.

The last time I actually taught in a classroom was the 2018-2019 academic year. That was at my old school in Union County and I was there for twelve years. This was pre-COVID-19 so everything was “normal” and I taught five classes, sometimes six, a day. I taught a range of math classes that included different levels from AP to honors of calculus, pre-calculus, algebra, and geometry. 

What was significantly different from RV and my previous high school was the scheduling. My old school had a “rotate and drop” schedule that revolved around the week. For example, if it was a “day one” you would have blocks A, B, and C and in the afternoon you would have D, E, and F. On “day two,” the A would drop and fall at the end of the day and the letters would rotate through this process daily; every period was 56 mins long, and instead of quarter classes, they were yearly courses. 

The number one way that COVID-19 has affected me personally is that I really had to pay attention to how to balance both life and work because I have never been a teacher while having a kid at home at the same time. So while the kids growing and developing, sometimes they don’t sleep at night, sometimes they get sick, and that is something I have to take responsibility for. As a mother, I tend to put myself second and my son’s needs first. Right now, I am trying to find that perfect balance in prioritizing both my new career and mothering skills.

As a mother, I tend to put myself second and my son’s needs first. Right now, I am trying to find that perfect balance in prioritizing both my new career and mothering skills.

— Mrs. Sorrell

I think the only reason I am able to do everything efficiently and effectively as a new teacher is because of the endless support from day one. Everyone has been super supportive, checking up on me and helping me through my transition. People who I do not really know still check up on me, from the HR department to Mr. Martin and my supervisors, and that is solely on the goodness of their hearts. RV has been so welcoming to me.

Additionally, Mrs. Bunting was a huge help in my transition process as I shadowed her throughout the beginning of the school year always talking and texting. In my mind, I knew I was taking over someone who was a really great teacher. Mrs. Bunting was highly-respected and had been in the community for over 15 years and I ensured to meet those standards and the quality of teaching that Mrs. Bunting gave. 

Initially, I had some rough patches to fill. I had to learn a brand new schedule, grade book, how to actually grade, and an entirely new department with new colleagues. However, the time spent in semester one has allowed me to become better equipped. This semester I have more confidence as lessons are running more smoothly and the beginning was really just a learning curve for everyone.