2021 Extraordinary Educators: Lauren Ackerman
Great communities have great schools. High Point Schools Partnership creates impactful connections between our schools and the wider community to ensure students and their families are supported and can reach their full potential in High Point schools.
Part of High Point Schools Partnerships’ mission is to improve the image of our schools through storytelling. Who better to tell the stories of High Point’s schools than the people experiencing it first-hand? In this series of eight articles, we will highlight our 2021 High Point Extraordinary Educators as we dive deeper into what keeps them motivated in the face of constant challenges.
Lauren Ackerman will have been at Allen Jay Preparatory Middle School for 6 years at the end of this upcoming school year. She applauds the “phenomenal leadership” and “amazing teachers,” and cites her constant “learning and growing” as a result of her colleagues as some of the reasons she stays.
Allen Jay Preparatory Middle School’s principal, Kevin Wheat, says Mrs. Ackerman is someone who is “creative, passionate, and brings a high level of energy to the classroom.” According to Wheat, during remote learning, she “organized rotation schedules, developed robust online lessons, and communicated with students and families to ensure everyone’s success. Her lessons were engaging, informative, and supported student learning under very challenging conditions.”
Mrs. Ackerman wants her students and families to know that she “gives 100% of myself every time I am in the classroom.” Although she may have high expectations, and there are times when scholars might want to give up, she will never give up on her scholars and “always has their best interest at heart.” She “will always be their biggest cheerleader in the classroom and will always be there to celebrate their successes and work through their challenges.”
Mrs. Ackerman wants to learn a foreign language “to be fun and exciting; not a burden or a bore.”
Q: What inspired you to become an educator?
A: My experiences in the Spanish classroom in middle school and high school inspired my love of the language and culture. I had some amazing teachers that challenged me in the foreign language classroom but also opened my eyes to a world beyond what I was familiar with. I was able to travel abroad in high school, and multiple times in college, which only solidified my interest in the Spanish language. I knew when I graduated I wanted to do something with the Spanish language and felt teaching was the path I should take, with the hope that I might instill the same type of passion and interest in another language and culture as my teachers instilled in me.
Q: What’s your teaching/leadership style?
A: I have very high expectations for my scholars because I know they can rise to the occasion and give every lesson their all and their absolute best. I want my scholars to be challenged, but I try to do it in a way to makes it less overwhelming. We sing! We dance! And we speak the language! I foster an environment where scholars can come to me with difficulties and can feel comfortable asking questions when they don’t understand.
Q: Do you have a classroom motto or philosophy you abide by? Why?
A: “Allow your students the opportunity to see mistakes and imperfections as part of the process.”
Learning a foreign language can be very challenging, and from time to time, a scholar will shut down and want to give up. I know how frustrating it can be to feel like you just… aren’t getting it. But, making mistakes and learning from them is part of life, and it’s expected whenever learning something new. When that same scholar that “just couldn’t get it” and wanted to give up finally grasps a concept, the confidence they gain and exude is magical.
Q: What’s your favorite part about every day?
A: The best part of my day is when I deliver a smooth, successful lesson that the scholars understand and enjoy. I love seeing the learning taking place and seeing the fabulous results. I love seeing scholars who may have been hesitant at first, or not very confident, start to develop the confidence to try speaking the language.
Q: What’s your most memorable moment as an educator?
A: There are many moments that have occurred throughout my 11 years of teaching that continue to remind me why I do what I do, but the most recent moment that resonates with me occurred about 3 years ago. It was the beginning of my third year at Allen Jay and I was on maternity leave with my second child. I received an email from a parent of a student I had during the previous 2 years. She simply wanted to say “thank you” for preparing her son so well in Spanish I during 7th and 8th grade. She went on to say he was doing great in Spanish II and that I had truly made a difference for him. This email had a huge effect on me because sometimes, as educators, we don’t know the impression we have on our scholars. I always hope I provide my scholars with the tools and skills needed to be successful. Receiving this email helped to validate what I do in the classroom and is a reminder that I am making an impact.
Ms. Lauren Ackerman “fully believes in Allen Jay’s program” and “loves to see the scholars thrive in an engaging and rigorous classroom environment” at Allen Jay Preparatory Middle School.
Thank you so much to Lauren Ackerman for your dedication to High Point’s students. Congratulations on being selected as your school’s 2021 Extraordinary Educator!
Article written by High Point Schools Partnership Staff