Rose Ann Lapp
I have been a teacher for 20 years in the same district. I have taught 14 years in our middle school and six in the high school. I never thought I would stay in the same district or teach for this many years!
I love teaching; it is a passion. I worked very hard to complete my degree and worked three jobs to put myself through college. New York state requires a master's degree, which I completed while working a full-time job.
I took full advantage of every opportunity offered to me to learn a new teaching style; a new computer program; work on a team to collaboratively teach; a new curriculum map; or new strategy to implement. My district, Washingtonville, has trained teachers continually and offered new challenges.
My classroom is my canvas and my students are not taught information just because we have a Regents Exam at the end. I make my lessons as meaningful to their lives as possible. When students see the connections between history and their lives, it makes learning more meaningful and they see why we are discussing topics from hundreds of years ago. I consider my classroom a place of discovery.
My day is busy, from the time I arrive at 6:45 a.m. (not required to be here until 7:20) until I leave, which is usually between 3:00 pm and 5 pm (we are allowed to leave at 2:40). I have typically put in 55-80 hours a week, including my working hours, for this profession.
During the summers, I take courses offered by several different agencies. I take the opportunity to travel and learn from others. This summer I was selected to travel to Turkey for two weeks through a joint program sponsored by the Mid-Hudson World Affair Council and the Turkish Cultural Foundation. I will also attend a workshop on New Bedford, MA. focusing on the Underground Railroad and Whaling Industry, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).
In addition to my daily routine, I have served for 10 years on the Mid-Hudson Social Studies Council as secretary, president and newsletter editor at various times. I was also the secretary for the New York State Council for the Social Studies. I have worked on the Washingtonville Teacher Center Policy Board and been involved as a coach for two fall seasons for junior varsity cheerleading. I have presented many workshops, both locally and at the state level, on such diverse topics as "Creating Stations," "Differentiating Learning," "Developing Document Based Questions" and "Designing Rubrics."
Through the course of my career, I have taken on 10 student teachers from either the State University of New York at New Paltz or Mount Saint Mary College.
My work as a teacher is on-going. I am a life-long learner and look forward to challenges from working 84-minute class periods to trying new technology, while at the same time dealing with the constraints of no more field trips and lack of funding for programs. Even on my more difficult days, I still am happy I am a teacher. It was not the pay scale that drew me to teaching. It was the flexibility of the profession and the idea that my lessons were my creations and I was bringing the past to young minds, in the most creative, challenging and engaging ways possible.
(Rose Ann Lapp is a member of the Washingtonville Teachers Association.)