Veteran teacher: After 30 years, it still feels new

Published 5:53 pm Monday, September 7, 2009

Jacqueline Lawrence began her teaching career more than three decades ago.

In the fall of 1975, Lawrence was welcoming students into her fourth grade class at East Suffolk Middle School.

Lawrence said last week she was not afraid meeting her first-ever batch of students because she had a secret weapon.

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“I’m the type of person who likes to get started early,” Lawrence said. “So, in August, I was up there getting the room organized and getting myself organized, so when the students came in, I was ready.”

More than 30 years later, Lawrence holds to the same plan.

“I’m still that way after all these years,” she said. “I still like to come in and get started early.”

Lawrence is an Early Start teacher at Elephant’s Fork Elementary School.

She transferred from East Suffolk to Elephant’s Fork when the elementary school opened, and taught third and fourth grade at the school for the rest of her career.

Last year, however, she wanted a change.

Thinking about retiring, Lawrence was asked if she would mind reconsidering in order to take on a job as a pre-kindergarten teacher. She said yes, and has been thrilled with her new role in elementary education.

“I love my job,” Lawrence said. “I love it. You get the chance to start the children out at the beginning of their school years. It’s wonderful.”

Lawrence added that her years of teaching third and fourth graders have better prepared her for building the fundamentals with new students.

“I know what the goals are for them,” Lawrence said. “I know what they need to go on to kindergarten and continue their careers in school. We want to make sure they have those building blocks in place so they are successful when they get to the higher grades.”

After all these years in education, Lawrence said she still gets excited for the first day of school.

“I’m excited about starting off for the first day,” she said. “That first day is when you get to know the children and their little personalities, and begin your year with them. I’m really looking forward to that.”