Community Gal: Claire Frisbie

Sam Mostow, Staff Reporter

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This is one of 16 profiles in our 2019 “Musang Insider” series. Click here to read the rest of the series.

Ms. Claire Frisbie smiles for a camera.

Ms. Claire Frisbie is photographed with trees in the background. Frisbie loves community and considers it her “buzz-word.” (Photo by Claire Frisbie via. Twitter)

I thought I knew my Language and Literature 9 teacher Mrs. Claire Frisbie fairly well. As I walked into her classroom to interview her, she greeted me with her trademark smile. As we walked over to her desk to sit in two swivel chairs, I looked around and really took in her classroom for the first time.

Posted on all the walls, behind the soft string lights, are inspirational quotes, a paper chain with things that we (students) are grateful for on it, and blankets lined up on a shelf for if we are ever cold. Frisbie has an unorthodox classroom, so I assumed she’d have a fairly unorthodox past or upbringing. Turns out I was correct.

Frisbie grew up outside of Scranton, Pennsylvania (“home of The Office…and Uncle Joe Biden”). She grew up in a small, rural town called Mount Cob, which per her description, is probably where she got her warm and welcoming personality.

“The four seasons are great and everybody’s very kind to one another,” Frisbie said. “Our community where I grew up is a very small and close-knit group where everyone knows everybody.”

Frisbie then attended Loyola University Maryland and studied abroad in Cork, Ireland. She furthered her studies at University College Cork which is where she “joined the band and learned the spoons.”

Frisbie is incredibly proud of her Irish heritage. The day following St. Patrick’s Day in her English classes, she had students, one by one, come up to the front and play the spoons. That was done, as I learned, by taking two metal spoons and putting your pointer finger between them and hitting the backs of the spoons back and forth. I will also add that I was very bad at it.

She is also proud of her Irish family. She is married to a man named Ryan (a “sweetie-heart,” as she described him) and their daughter, Erin Marie, was born on May 8, six days after our interview. She has a mother named Lisa and two younger brothers, Tim and Sean. Tim lives in Pittsburgh and Sean lives in Philadelphia. They are “very tall and cool.” She has a brother-in-law named Alex. She has lots of cousins and is very close with her aunts and uncles.

“We’re really lucky. My family is really close.”

Frisbie is known at Mason for bringing a community atmosphere to her classroom. She calls “community” her “buzz-word.” She considers her classroom a gathering place for all students.

“To me, that’s why I love teaching… being able to establish relationships with students and just knowing that they have a place.”

Frisbie also prides herself on being able to build relationships with her students.

“I’ve been able to talk to them more informally or kind of hear about their day outside of school. Overall, establishing relationships and being able to see the people makes that easy.”

Frisbie says that she makes her room a friendly environment to help people share.

“Maybe if they’re comfortable in here, then they’ll be comfortable enough to share. Establishing relationships from the beginning based on respect and just care…transfers to the relationship.”