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NOVEMBER 15, 2008

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Joanna Pitt teaching her class at Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment.


The fifth grade boys on a prairie walk.


Walking to school in India (with Jane Pitt in the background).


Ms. Pitt with her English students in Bihar, India.


Ms. Pitt and her Kenyan friend.

After Teaching Around the World, Joanna Pitt Comes Home

Joanna Pitt, daughter of Jane and Barry Pitt, is one of the youngest teachers at Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment. As a student, Ms. Pitt was exposed to a wealth of different learning environments. She attended MSAE as a child, and went to middle school and high school in Ann Arbor, Michigan, before graduating with a degree in Elementary Education from American University in Washington D.C.

Ms. Pitt found that her visual learning style was a disadvantage in the world of mostly verbal education. “I became motivated to make school fun, easy, and confidence-building for all types of students regardless of their learning style,” she says.

As a teacher, Ms. Pitt tested herself in a variety of schools. First, she participated in the launch of Carolina International School — a charter school founded by Dr. Richard Beall, now head of MSAE — where she taught first grade.

Next, Ms. Pitt taught children in a new school in a rural area of Bihar, India, that previously had no access to education. She also taught English to the villagers, helped train local teachers, wrote curriculum, and participated in fundraising.

In her passion to gain more experience teaching disadvantaged children, Ms. Pitt volunteered at a homeless shelter in Berkeley, California while also working for the California Autism Foundation. Later, she became a full-time tutor at the Harrison House Shelter. “I wanted to make sure that no matter where students came from in the morning, or went home to in the evening, when they were at school they felt like they were equal to—and had the same educational opportunities—as any other kid in the world,” she says.

Ms. Pitt also spent a summer volunteering on an organic farm in New Zealand, and another one coordinating a volunteer teacher program in Kenya.

In 2007, Ms. Pitt returned to her roots to teach fifth grade boys at MSAE and to complete her Master’s Degree in Teaching at Maharishi University of Management. Now Ms. Pitt enjoys the group practice of the Transcendental Meditation® program with her students because, in her experience, it creates a relaxed and happy atmosphere where children are excited to learn.

“It's wonderful to come to work with a huge smile on my face when I see my students,” Ms. Pitt says. “I feel like I have the best job in the world.”

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