Teaching is What Amy LaRoche is “Destined to Do”

Amy LaRoche on teaching: “Even on the worst days you can always look back and find at least one rewarding thing that happened during the day.”
Maple River’s new special education teacher for kindergarten through sixth grade is very pleased to be working in the district. LaRoche stated, “During the application process, I had heard nothing but great things about the Maple River School District.”
LaRoche grew up in Faribault, Minn., going to school at Nerstrand—a small charter school—that just so happened to also have an Eagle as their mascot. She said, “I loved how close everyone was, not only student relationships, but student-teacher relationships as well. I look forward to creating and maintaining relationships with my students, co-workers and members of this awesome community!”
Amy has always wanted to be a teacher. “I’ve always enjoyed being around children, paired with a natural desire to teach and lead. I decided on the field of Special Education because I believe that every student has the right to succeed just like their peers. Also, my older sister has a disability called Williams Syndrome which also played a crucial role in my career choice,” stated LaRoche.
However, it was her student-teaching experience with a particular sixth grader that solidified her commitment to teaching. “During my student teaching experience, there was a sixth grader that impacted my life. He was full of constant energy, compassion and jokes. He would greet me with a smile every day and overall was just a pleasant kid to be around. Every day he would stop at our classroom and tell my mentor teacher and I a joke and then run off to be picked up. At the end of my student teaching experience, I knew he was going to be a tough kid to say goodbye to. As the last days of my experience approached, he had many tearful days and ended up bringing me a thoughtful gift, which is propped on my desk in my classroom. As we gave each other a tear-filled hug goodbye, he wiped his tears away and told me that he would never forget me. That right there, gave me assurance that I’m where I’m supposed to be in this world and doing what I’m destined to do,” LaRoche shared.
She loves the “early academic age range because there’s so many fun and innovating ways to teach different skill sets. Plus, it’s so fun to watch the kids grow, emotionally and physically, throughout the years.”
Even being new to teaching, Amy is already learning from her students. “My students have taught me the importance of being present. Whether being present means physically or emotionally, the students depend on me. The littlest of problems that I have in life should not and do not interfere with my profession and who I am day in and out. When I am present in the moment, I am there for my students and am able to handle whatever issues or celebrations that may arise.”
LaRoche does have some concerns in how technology has “dramatically changed the student populations both negatively and positively over the last decade. Technology poses many, many advantages for our students in the learning environment. The assistive technology pieces such as voice-to-text, spell check, video relay, smartboard implementation, iPads/Chromebooks for the students, and so on are so beneficial for our students. On the contrary, technology can pose a threat to academic growth in the areas of writing, spelling and reading.”  She is also fearful of the negative effects of social media on this generation of students. She noted, “I can’t imagine having social media during my adolescent years—they were hard enough let alone adding the pressure of anything and everything being a thumb-click away, including social stigma and cyberbullying.”
She would like the students  to know, “that we as teachers are always going to be their number one fan and support system. We’re there to make them the best person they can be. We WANT to be there for you and we WANT you to come to us if you need any kind of support.”
Welcome, Amy LaRoche! We wish you the best as you start your teaching career. Thank you for sharing your gift and passion.
In the future Amy sees herself settling in Minnesota and she hopes to attain a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership with in the next five to 10 years.
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