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The News Website for Glendale High School


The News Website for Glendale High School


Ms. Tumanyan Is Writing Her Own Story

GHS English teacher, and the author of several books, brings her caring nature to our campus.

Meri Tumanyan is one of our senior English teachers at Glendale High School, and she is always supportive and always helpful to her students. She was born in Yerevan, Armenia and has taught at many schools in the surrounding areas. She currently still teaches at Pierce College as an adjunct professor, but she loves teaching full time here at GHS, her alma mater. 

Ms. Tumanyan’s hobbies include playing many instruments, performing martial arts, and most importantly, writing and publishing books. Her latest publications are The Girl with a Purple Umbrella and The Promise of the Pomegranate Tree, which are based on real-life experiences.

Despite not being a new teacher here, I still decided it would be good to interview her. She has a unique perspective that might reveal several truths, not only about herself, but about our school and culture.

Ms. Tumanyan has had a long journey before teaching here at GHS. As soon as she graduated from college at the age of twenty-two, she began teaching, and since then, she has taught at almost every single grade level. 

Ms. Tumanyan has taught at a variety of schools, including Armenian private schools, a Catholic school, and several colleges, including Los Angeles Pierce College and Pasadena City college. However, her career hasn’t been entirely in the field of education, as she has also worked at the Los Angeles Superior Court as a Judicial Assistant for seven years. Her job was a highly responsible one since it entailed carrying out all of the judge’s orders.

Ms. Tumanyan is also an alum of GHS. After she graduated from our school, she attended Glendale Community College for two years, before transferring to Occidental College on a full scholarship. She studied English and Comparative English Studies, pursuing her passion for literature.

After receiving her degree, Ms. Tumanyan lived her life for a bit by teaching, getting married, and starting a family.  This was not the end for her educational journey though, and she soon went back to school and earned her Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Cal State Northridge.  A few years later, she got her teaching credential because she decided the classroom is where she belongs.

Ms. Tumanyan believes that being a teacher comes with its highs and lows, and one of those highs for her is the understanding that students get from her class. “When you talk about ideas or concepts, and you see their faces, and this lightbulb goes on…it’s one of those moments that money can’t buy,” she said.

Additionally, Ms. Tumanyan also loves to watch the growth of her students and how they start and end their high school careers. Since many of her former students follow her on Instagram, she can see how they move on with their lives, after graduating, landing a career, and starting their own families.

Unfortunately, this job isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, as Ms. Tumanyan still has some challenges that she faces.  Chief among them is that she simply cannot reach every student. “Different backgrounds, different needs, different levels of interest, language barriers, lack of motivation–it’s hard to reach out to every single student, every single day,” she admitted. “Sadly, there just isn’t enough time in the day, given the growing responsibilities that come with the profession, and we all do the best we can with the resources that we are given,” she concluded.

The good thing is that, when Ms. Tumanyan finally reaches a student, she really speaks to them, and she is able to bring out the best in them, both academically and as people. She works hard at “knowing their strengths and weaknesses, knowing when to push them, and when to hold back, when to leave them alone, and when to get on their case.” 

“Ultimately, we want them to perform at their potential, as students, as thinkers, as writers, but also as human beings,” she said. “My goal is to help them reflect, do a bit of soul-searching while in my class, and I want my students to become the best version of themselves, someone they’re proud of and happy with.”

Ms. Tumanyan doesn’t really have a problem with the educational system, but rather with the current generation. She really wishes that people would stop taking shortcuts for their goals, and instead she wishes that they weren’t afraid of struggling and challenging themselves to reach their goals.  Technology has become an impediment to staying focused and learning, and she tries to find creative ways of not only incorporating technology in the classroom when appropriate, but also teaching students to practice self-discipline when it comes to putting their cell phones away during lessons. 

Now, of course, technology has made some aspects of life easier, and sometimes shortcuts are required, but Ms. Tumanyan wishes for people to “not lose sight of the important things.” 

“When I want an original essay, I want an original essay, not a copy of someone else’s ideas,” she said. “And I think it boils down to trusting yourself, searching within and not being afraid to discover what you might find.”

Ms. Tumanyan has some additional wisdom for students, and that is to never lose sight of their human nature. “We’re losing sight of empathy and reaching out to fellow human beings in different ways, whether it’s through community service, music, writing, and in other artistic and altruistic ways,” she said.

At the end of the day, the most important aspect of being a human is our empathy and compassion. Ms. Tumanyan’s one hope is that we, as people, don’t end up losing sight of that, and in turn, end up losing sight of our humanity.

In terms of professional advice, Ms. Tumanyan believes that all young people should pick something they are truly passionate about. Sure, money is important, but no amount of money could ever make you love a job that makes you miserable. 

Ms. Tumanyan has some personal experience with this.  When she left the courthouse for the classroom. “I took a major pay cut, because the reward and satisfaction of teaching cannot be replaced with money,” she contends. “I’m a happier person, I’m a happier professional, and I’m a happier mother, because I believe in what I do, and going to work doesn’t feel like going to work.”

Ms. Tumanyan has big plans for the future, like starting a creative writing class on our campus, bringing back the mythology course, and bringing poetry and creative writing into the community. She also hopes that our school will offer more literature-focused electives.

Ultimately, Ms. Tumanyan is just a grateful person. She is grateful for her children and her family.  She is grateful that she is earning money doing something she loves. She is grateful for her amazing students. And she is grateful for one of her previous teachers at GHS, who told her  to “find a job that you love and you don’t have to work for the rest of your life.” This lesson stuck with her, and she’s been living by it ever since. 

For more information on Ms. Tumanyan’s books, writing journey, and her involvement in the community, you can follow her on Instagram @mt_musings and

About the Contributor
Tomas Morales Valles
Tomas Morales Valles, Staff Writer
Tomas is a senior at Glendale High School, who is very obsessed with the 70's band Queen. He is a part of the yearbook and journalism staffs, as well as a member of some other clubs on campus. Tomas is very proud of his culture and hates being called a “no sabo kid.” His hobbies include being a mediocre chef, weight lifting, singing (badly), and playing a variety of instruments, such as piano and guitar.
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