Archive for Thursday, October 13, 2005

Veteran teacher sees her role changing

October 13, 2005

Jackie Lamar, a 20-year veteran of teaching, started out the school year as a substitute in Lansing. She said she was ready to travel and to work only when she wanted.

Plans for travel and leisure went out the window when Lamar signed on to become a fourth-grade teacher at Lansing Intermediate School, a position necessitated by increased enrollment of fourth-grade students this year.

"I was thrilled that I was able to take it because I really do enjoy it," she said.

And there's still time for traveling.

"Now I can look forward to summer," she said. She plans to visit Singapore with her husband, who works for Cubic Corp. at Fort Leavenworth and travels there often for business.

Lamar came to Lansing from Xavier Elementary School in Leavenworth, where she taught for 11 years. In her career, Lamar said she has taught third, fifth and sixth grades - plus a one-year stint teaching soldiers reading and math in preparation for their basic skills tests - but this is her first year teaching fourth grade. It's going well so far, she said.

"I'm having the best year I've probably had in a long time," Lamar said.

Lamar said she's adjusted her teaching to suit the new age group. She said it takes students longer than she expected to complete assignments, but she can tell they are enthusiastic.

"They've got that excitement of learning that you won't find as often with the older children," she said.

In addition to the changes she's experiencing in her new class, Lamar said there are other changes in society that she's noticed in the past five years that have affected her in the classroom. She said she could understand why, in so many households, both parents work, but that fact has changed teachers' roles, she said.

"Times are changing," she said. "I don't feel that (students) are losing the parent involvement, but sometimes the teachers are the ones who have to do more of it and give them the support."

However, Lamar says, she doesn't let the changes affect her approach to teaching.

"My philosophy is that all children have the ability to learn, and it's my goal to give them the opportunity to grow and to learn at a level at which they become successful," she said.

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