Lauren Caldwell is a kindergarten teacher at Hazel Dell Elementary School. She is in her third year. Caldwell began teaching kindergarten and had the opportunity to loop with her students to first grade the following year.
Why did you become a teacher? Many members of my family are educators, including my father who is a high school band director in Russiaville. I grew up around the profession and also was influenced by great educators throughout my school career. I will always remember those teachers who went above and beyond to help me as a student and as an aspiring teacher. Their enthusiasm for teaching and helping others grow was contagious. I caught the bug and have never looked back. Thank you Dad, Vicki Caldwell, Stacey Swan, and Julie McCool.
What are your goals for students? As teachers, we consume ourselves with day- to-day planning of rigorous and engaging instruction to help students grow and become successful. However, my kindergarteners do a wonderful job reminding me to step back and reflect on the bigger picture of my responsibilities. I strive for students to leave equipped with the knowledge to solve problems, communicate their ideas and feelings, cooperate with others, and be more compassionate human beings. I love the classroom environment these goals naturally create for my students. There is no inhibition to ask questions, make mistakes, and ultimately develop a joy for learning.
What advice would you give parents? My advice would be to love and support your child through every step of this quick journey. Forgive their mistakes and take great joy in their celebrations. I only see students for one year and I’m always amazed by the amount of change and growth I witness. Every year passes more quickly than the last and I’m sure it never slows down. Always remember that children are not a distraction from more important work. Children are our most important work.
What is something others might not know about you? When I was younger, I thought I wanted to be a veterinarian. I decided to volunteer at my local animal shelter to gain experience. I was able to watch surgeries, see x-rays, and help technicians hold animals while they were being treated. I hated it. It was too hard for me to see all of the sick animals. I learned that I was better off caring for animals by adopting them and giving them a loving home. I adopted a dog from a rescue shelter several years ago and he is the greatest companion. Now I can’t walk into shelters without wanting to adopt too many.