Teacher Spotlight: Laurah Jurca

Grade(s) Taught:
K-8 (currently working with 4th and 2nd)

Subjects Taught:
ESL, ESOL, Language Arts

School Name:
James McHenry Elementary



Teaching Motto:
Every child is smart in one way or another, and it is our job as educators to help them find a way to show it.

How many years have you been teaching?

Who or what inspired you to become a teacher?
To be honest, I never wanted to be a teacher. It wasn’t until I started looking for “real” jobs after finishing my BA that teaching became appealing. At that time, I wanted to eventually teach English to adults overseas. During my student teaching, I was primarily in a middle school and fell in love with students that age. Since then, I have been in the classroom and I love each and every one of my students. Their smiles, questions and enthusiasm are my daily inspiration.

What advice would you give to a new or struggling teacher?
It will get better! Teachers are expected to do so much today, that it is sometimes easy to forget that we are here for the students, not the paperwork or standardized tests.

Take a moment, step back from the paperwork and extra requirements, and look into the face and smiles of your students. THEY are the reason we are here.

My best day in the classroom was when:
That’s a hard choice. Academically, it was when a newcomer student who had been in the country only three months came to tell me that he passed our state Math end-of-grade test. We had been working in class every day, and after school two days a week for two months to help him pass this test. I’ll never forget his face when he rushed in to tell me he passed. I really felt like we BOTH passed, because math is really difficult for me and I had to work really hard to prepare him.

What’s your one must-have item for your classroom?
 My LCD projector and doc camera

If you could have one teacher superpower, what would it be?
The ability to duplicate myself, so that I could have another “me” doing lesson plans, making materials, copying and grading papers while I teach the kiddos.

What was the last non-academic book you’ve read?
All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris

What profession other than your own would you most like to attempt?
Being a journalist. I do have a degree in that field, but due to the low pay (even lower than teaching) and crazy hours for most entry level positions, I’ve never done it. I’d love to have been embedded in the Middle East reporting on the war, or to be a travel writer.

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