During the 2012-2013 school year, Lauri Aliengena experienced her second year of teaching third graders at Woodland Elementary School in Southwick, MA. This past spring she became a recipient of the Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Award. While she’s still early in her teaching career, Lauri’s responses to our questions reveal characteristics important to effective teaching — a love of children and learning.
What motivated you to become a teacher/educator? I have known that I wanted to teach since I was a young girl. I love learning and get very excited to share that with those around me.
What support did you receive, or wish you had received, early in your career? I am early in my career, and I am fortunate enough to have very supportive colleagues, but I do wish that someone would teach me the questions to ask and the steps to take to get particular testing done on students I feel have special needs.
What keeps you enthusiastic about teaching/education, and where do you find inspiration? I find my inspiration in my students. I plan trying to create a fun and informative environment. This in itself gets me excited because I cannot wait to see their receptiveness, reactions and interactions with the curriculum.
Who has been a role model for you and why? My best role models have been the wonderful veteran teachers that I have known whose continual effort, enthusiasm and curiosity have ensured that they are outstanding.
What do you find helps you to effectively interact with students? I love children, and I also love diversity (diversity in ethnicity, gender, family make-up, personality traits, etc.). A classroom is the perfect place to find all of those things.
What is some of the best advice you’ve been given? Or what is a favorite quotation? Teaching has to be from your soul. It’s not something you learn. It’s who you are.