For Lauralee Baker, there isn’t much point in being a teacher unless one is committed to making sure her students fall in love with the process of learning.
“Of course you want them to grow and learn, but kids are not going to grow and learn if they don’t love to be here every day,” she says.
As a second grade teacher at Franklin Elementary School, Baker devotes her time each day to making sure kids are prepared to learn and they enjoy the process.
A Boone native and 1994 graduate of Boone High School, Baker earned her undergraduate degree in elementary education from Iowa State University. She capped that with a master’s in education from Viterbo University. Baker spent two years teaching kindergarten at Page Elementary School when she first joined the district and has now spent the majority of her career teaching second grade.
“The kids at this age just love school,” she says. “They love being with their teacher, and they’re so excited to learn; they’re like little sponges, and they always want to take on new ideas.”
At this age level, much of the focus is on building strong reading and writing skills, and Baker is always pleased when she sees a student who suddenly grasps a new concept and is able to really comprehend the written word on a page.
“In second grade a lot of times that light bulb goes off, and all of sudden they get it — ‘I can read that!’ — and they’re just excited that now they can get through a story and really do a good job with it,” she explains.
Each day includes a little personal writing time, and Baker appreciates the stories her students have to tell.
“I love our writing time because we usually write personal narratives, where they can share their stories about what’s going on in their lives. They just really do a nice job with it so it’s fun to hear their stories,” she says.
Getting kids off to a good start is perhaps one of the most important aspects of the early elementary years, and Baker does her part to make sure it’s a happy start.
“My main goal is that they love school and that they want to be here every day,” she concludes.