Although last week was “officially” National Charter School Appreciation Week, we appreciate charters EVERY week. In honor of that appreciation, the Association of American Educators, took time mark the occasion by recognizing several teachers in these unique public schools and the communities they serve. AAE supports public charter school movement and the heroic educators who make these innovative schools possible. That’s why we’d like to introduce you to Lisa Laurie – a 5th grade teacher and 10-year teaching veteran from Camden’s Promise Charter School in Camden, New Jersey:
Q: What do you like about teaching in a charter school?
A: This is my third year in the charter school network and it has been a demanding yet very rewarding year. I have the high level learners this year, so I continue to find ways to push them even higher and keep them motivated. It helps that my administrators are visionary leaders, as they are leading an inspired team. In addition, the teachers and students are very involved in the learning process, as our fifth grade team is very hard working.
Q: What sets your school apart?
A: We don’t lower the bar for our students and we hold them accountable for their academics and actions. While students can find the transition to our middle school challenging, our students are rising to the occasion because of the high expectation.
Q: What motivates you as an educator?
A: I want to motivate my students and help them make connections in and out of the classroom. I like when kids “get something” and can apply it to the real world. Recently, we were talking about the branches of government and my students were so engaged about how a bill becomes a law. The students and I decided to have them write letters to our NJ Senators about topics they feel strongly about in Camden or NJ. We are hoping to get responses back from our letters.
Q: What are the misconceptions you face as a charter school educator?
A: I’ve often heard people say charters are “special” schools or “private” schools. More people need to educate themselves on school choice and charter schools. I’m fortunate to be in a charter school because of the high standards for students and staff.
Q: What would you like to tell teachers in other environments about teaching in a charter school?
A: I would definitely recommend teaching in a charter school. If I had kids, I would send my own kids to this school! The work ethic is unmatched, which gives a life long foundation to our students.
Q: How did you become an AAE member?
A: AAE benefits truly back me up as a teacher. In addition, the materials are worthwhile and keep me informed about legislation and changes in education. The low cost helps as well!
An earlier version of this post originally appeared on www.aaeteachers.org.