By April Clark Honaker
This is Lauren Casey’s first year teaching second grade at Choudrant Elementary, but she’s been teaching this grade for more than 10 years and was recently selected Teacher of the Year at her school. This is an award she also achieved while teaching at Belle Chasse Academy in 2020.
Casey said that receiving the award was both humbling and validating. “It’s so neat to hear and see what your co-workers think of you,” she said.
She said the award also provided some unexpected reassurance.
“I know I’m where I’m supposed to be and I’m doing what I’m supposed to be,” she said.
In addition, receiving the reward prompted Casey to reflect on how she got to this point in her career. She could not have done it without the help of countless other educators who supported her along the way.
“I’d love to take the opportunity to thank educators who poured into me,” she said, “and now I want to take that opportunity and pour into other people’s children.”
Casey earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education Grades 1-5 and a master’s in curriculum and instruction from Louisiana Tech. While earning her master’s she worked as a reading specialist in Hico. Afterward, she taught several years in the New Orleans area before returning to north Louisiana.
Casey’s first job after her return to Lincoln Parish was at Hillcrest Elementary where she did her student teaching.
“It was neat to come back to the place where I started,” she said.
As a second grade teacher, Casey teaches her students all subjects.
“I actually love being able to teach everything,” she said. “When I teach all the subjects, I can see all their strengths and weaknesses. It’s easier to help them in certain areas when you see them as a whole.”
She loves many thing about teaching, but said, “My favorite thing is seeing the moment when a child realizes what their strength is and they’re empowered by that. When they realize that, their education becomes theirs, and they realize no one can take that away from them. Then they just grow.”
Casey said it helps to figure out what a student loves, especially when it comes to reading. If they’re struggling, connecting what they’re learning to something they love can really change everything.
“They start opening up a bit,” she said, “and it chips away at that wall they have. The next thing you know, they’re reading in class and getting cheered for.” Casey said seeing moments like these is what she lives for.
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